Opera Lovers
written by Fabrisse

Rating: FRAO
Spoilers: Spoilers for Angel through "The Trial".
Summary: Giles and Wesley meet up at the San Francisco Opera.
Thanks: With thanks to Gileswench, it's nice to have a twisted sister.
Dedication: For Jen who acts as my cheering section.
Feedback Author: Fabrisse

Sipping champagne from a plastic flute, Rupert Giles looked around the lobby of the opera house and smiled. It was so relaxing to see people dressed to the nines and in San Francisco dressing up could take some interesting permutations. He always liked to arrive early for the pre-show, as it were. Of course, it was always nice to take a day or weekend away from Sunnydale.

Fashionably dressed women and extravagantly dressed men went by. One of the great things about this city, he could look appreciatively at both genders and no one would think twice about it. And then there were all the different versions of men's evening wear. For instance that handsome gentleman in dinner jacket, bow tie, dress shirt, brocade waistcoat, and leather pants, now where would anyone see such a perfect combination of classics besides San Francisco.

As the gentleman Giles was admiring came closer a flicker of recognition went through both of them. Wesley Wyndham-Pryce, of course, he should have recognized the vest from the Sunnydale Prom.

"Mr. Giles, I didn't know you were an opera buff."

"Wyndham-Pryce. Sunnydale is far closer to San Francisco than Los Angeles is, I'm surprised to see you here."

"Well, there really isn't enough opera in Los Angeles, so I get tickets up here."

"Angel must be paying you well."

"Hardly. I make more money hustling darts and the occasional game of pool than I ever see from Angel Investigations. On the bright side, there's usually food at the office."

"Where are you sitting then?"

"The gods. I drive up for the performance and drive back afterward which keeps it fairly cheap. Well, as cheap as opera can be."

"Look, I have a box for opening nights this season. In future, join me. I rarely have a full complement. Tonight being so near finals and all, I'm alone."

"Don't tell me Buffy and her friends join you." Wesley seemed both amused and intrigued by the idea.

"Buffy? Never. But Joyce and Dawn came to Marriage of Figaro with me last season. Willow and Tara are my usual companions, and Xander asked if he could have my box to take Anya someplace special for their anniversary. Since it was 'La Boheme' I had no problem saying yes." Wesley noticed a cloud pass over Giles face before the older man continued, "Riley's even attended once. He had no problem escorting Tara with Willow on my arm, but when we exited the girls went arm in arm and I took his. I think I stunted him out of a year's growth. Look, why don't you see if you can sell your ticket in the return line and join me tonight?"

Wesley came back a few minutes later looking happy.

"Great, now I can have something to eat." At the look on Giles face he said, "When I was a student in London I'd eat only one meal a day just so I could go to the theater every night. I consider it a more than acceptable trade off."

The lights flashed as Wesley hurriedly bought himself an overpriced sandwich. Giles got 2 more flutes of champagne and another sandwich to feed Wesley and lead the younger man to his usual box. Der Rosenkavalier started up and Giles noticed that Wesley was entranced. By the end of the first act he realized that watching Wesley had taken precedence over watching the stage.

At the interval they discussed the staging and the lighting and the music. Wesley's face was joyous and animated, and Giles found himself more involved in the discussion than he'd thought he'd be. Willow and Tara had never seen an opera before he brought them to Madama Butterfly last season and while they were enthusiastic, it was the enthusiasm of newness. Wesley had the enthusiasm of expertise and Giles found himself discussing past performances that he'd seen with nearly equal energy.

The lights flashed and Giles and Wesley retreated to the box. Giles again found himself watching his companion's reactions as much as the performance. The last bass note of Baron Ochs' waltz died away, and another interval faced them.

"Wesley, did I hear you say earlier that you were driving back to LA tonight? It must be six hours at least."

"About that, but I'm used to working all night."

"You don't have to. I come up here on Magic Box business, many of my suppliers are in Chinatown, and stay the weekend. You're welcome to stay the night and go back in the morning if you like."

"Thank you. Er, um, the 'gang' -- do they stay overnight with you as well?"

"I rent a small suite. Willow and Tara take the bedroom and I sleep on the surprisingly comfortable pullout. With earplugs." Wesley was amused to see Giles color faintly.

"I see. There's no reason to be back in LA first thing. I'll call Cordelia and let her know that I'm coming in late tomorrow."

"If no one's expecting you, you could stay the whole weekend. Take a break. I have business in the morning, but you could play tourist if you like."

"I'll think about it during the third act. I appreciate the offer."

This time as they went back for the final act of the piece, Giles realized that they were being watched appreciatively. Just as he'd watched others earlier. And they were being judged a handsome couple.

Everything tidied up prettily at the end of act 3. Wesley turned to Giles and looked at the older man appraisingly, "I shouldn't have had the champagne, I think I'm too tired to head back tonight. May I take you up on your kind offer?"

"I'd like that. Wyndham-Pryceˇ"

"Please call me Wesley."

"Wesley. I want to apologize. For how we all treated you when you came to Sunnydale. Practical matters for a moment first, I came by taxi from the hotel, but I take it you drove?"

"Yes, I'll pull around to the front and you can decide whether you want to take a cab back to your hotel." Wesley left a puzzled Giles waiting at the corner for nearly 15 minutes. Giles was shocked to find that Wesley's vehicle was a motorcycle; it just didn't fit the mental picture he had. Wesley took his helmet off and asked for directions to the hotel. Giles was hesitant about riding pillion, but the night was warm and the young man seemed to be fairly confident.

A leather gloved hand held out a shocking pink helmet. Giles removed his glasses, put on the helmet and then put his glasses on under the face plate, he straddled the back of the machine and signaled that he was ready.

They made it to the hotel in under twenty minutes. Giles escorted him to the top floor and into the one bedroom suite. "Brandy, scotch, chocolate covered raisins?" Giles was going through the mini-bar trying to act as host.

"No thanks, I prefer not to mix my drinks -- or my raisins come to that." Giles didn't think he'd ever heard the younger man make a joke before. It was a new side to him.

"There are a couple of splits of champagne if you'd care for some." Wesley nodded, and Giles poured a glass for each of them. He noticed that Wesley was still standing near the door. He put the glasses on the coffee table, "Here let me take that," That was Wesley's heavy leather jacket.

"No, I just didn't know where to put it. Dust of the road and all." Afterward neither of them were quite sure exactly how their first kiss happened. When it ended Giles had the jacket and was heading toward the closet. Coming back he noticed Wesley still standing and looking embarrassed. "Er, um , Giles, I'm sorry, um -- look I'll just go now."

Giles walked to the couch, "No need. You're welcome to stay we can pretend that it never happened." Wesley nodded shyly and muttered "blueberry scone" under his breath as Giles inwardly cursed himself for misreading the signals.

They were awkward as they sat on the couch sipping hesitantly at their champagne. Giles started to say something just as Wesley did and after all the usual back and forthing, Wesley began again. "Giles, I know that you finally came to a modus vivendi with him, but it seems to me that you really dislike Angel. May I ask why?"

Outrage played across Giles face, "For heaven's sake man, you read my diaries and you dare ask that?" Seeing Wesley's stricken look, "You did read my diaries before you came to Sunnydale. That *was* the research you referred to on your first day?"

"No. The Council forbade it. When I asked why, well quite frankly they sounded the way Cordelia does when she speaks of Xander, that you were a failure and that there was nothing to be learned from your unorthodoxy because you had failed. I researched known hellmouths and their consequences and did some intensive study on demonology, but other than you, the slayer, and the bare names of her Îforbidden' companions, I was, again to quote Cordelia, clueless."

"Oh dear lord. When I began to apologize earlier tonight, I'd no idea that..." Giles shook his head in disgust. "I'm switching to scotch." As he poured himself another drink, "You at least knew that Angel had lost his soul and tried to destroy the world the previous year?"

"Yes, Acathla. The no sex part of the curse, or rather no happiness. But other than the bare facts that the slayer had prevented it and that you had been, what was the word they used, stalwart, nothing. I found out that one of her teachers had died from Cordelia, oh, and something about having to borrow her grandmother's car. Neither she nor Angel has been more forthcoming than that."

Giles sat back down and told the whole story. His love for Jenni, his support of Buffy in spite of that love, the blessing of Buffy's acceptance of him and Jenni. The roses and the aria that would never mean love to him again, but would forever mean death. The horror of being a suspect, the relief at having an alibi, the shame of finding Jenni, even in death, arousing. And the anger, the sheer rage at Angel's contempt for her. Neck broken as if she wasn't even worthwhile nourishment, hearing Angel laugh over Jenni when Spike referred to her as "a gag gift."

"You want to know why I'll tolerate Spike when I can't bear to look at Angel. Why every time I'm obliged to invite him across my threshold, I revoke the invitation at the earliest opportunity? Because Spike saved my life that night. Had Drusilla attacked me to protect Angel as she wanted to, I would not have lived for Buffy to come get me. And months later, when Angel thought that chainsaws were the next logical phase to my torture, Spike saved me again. He'll always act out of his own self-interest so you know where you stand. Angel has a soul and a demon, and *I* will never assume that the soul is to the fore at any given moment. I know he loves Buffy, and I worked with him, helped him for her sake. God may forgive him, but I can't."

Giles was unsurprised to find tears pricking at his own eyes, but startled when he saw the hard set of Wesley's face and the unshed tears.

"Thank you for telling me. I... Everyone... Damned Council."

"To answer the questions I think you were trying to ask. Yes, the 'gang' grieved with me. Buffy stood beside me at Jenni's grave. And Willow and I talked often, because Jenni had been her favorite teacher, and, bless her, she remembers the anniversary every year. But no, not everyone knows how deeply I hate Angel. Angel does. Modus vivendi is right. I let him live because that causes him more pain." Giles took the last sip of his scotch. "And yes, you are the only person who's been told this."

They sat in silence for a few minutes. For all the pain he'd just dredged up, Giles was feeling free. Comfortable.

"I -- I'm sorry that I, well, made a pass at you earlier. I should have realized you were straight."

Giles looked at the younger man in some shock. "You made a pass at me? I thought I'd made the pass at you. That you were, how to phrase this, unaware of both sides."

Wesley looked perplexed again and then smiled. "Everyone's bisexual. It's just the lucky ones who know it." He drew Giles to him for a very thorough kiss. "Would you like someone to share your bed tonight?"

"No." Giles saw hurt flash across Wesley's eyes. "I want *you* to share my bed tonight." He undid the knot in Wesley's tie as he leaned in for another kiss.

Wesley pulled away, "I was serious about the dust of the road earlier. I think I'd like a shower before bed."

It was Giles turn to look perplexed, but he just said, "It's just off the other room. I'll, er, wait for you here?"

Wesley picked up the ditty bag he'd brought in from his bike and started through the bedroom door, "I thought maybe you'd like to watch... or join me."

Giles grinned ruefully to himself [Why do I always go for the teases] and followed.

By the time Giles got there Wesley had already taken off his dinner jacket and hung it on the back of the door. As he went to unbutton the elegant waistcoat, Giles stopped him and undid the buttons himself then tackled the shirt underneath and slid them off.

Bare chested, Wesley walked behind Giles and helped him off with his jacket and hung it carefully on the back of the door. His arms encircled Giles as he pulled out the older man's shirt and unbuttoned him from behind. He licked and nibbled at Giles ears and neck his fingers stroking the skin and entwining the hair on the chest in front of him. The last button undone his hands slid over the soft wool trousers down hips and thighs. When Giles moaned and thrust back against him Wesley's hands came up and unbuttoned Giles' fly. One hand stroked the zipper down slowly as the other brushed Giles' hot length through the silk of his shorts. Giles kick off his shoes as the trousers slid down to his ankles. Wesley stepped back and let the silk shirt shrug off of Giles' shoulders.

Giles turned as he stepped out of his trousers and kissed the face so near his own. Hands moved down backs and silk rubbed against leather, length to length.

"Water. We need hot water." So saying Wesley went to the shower and turned it on. Giles watched his tight ass still encased in the leather as he leaned in to the stall. When he was satisfied as to the temperature, he leaned over all the way and undid his shoe and took off his socks. Giles was practically drooling and chuckling to himself because he knew that the younger man had planned the reaction. Wesley straightened. Giles came close and licked his throat as he peeled the achingly tight trousers from Wesley's lovely body. Long legs, slim torso, and long cock standing straight up. Beautiful. When Wesley reached for his shorts, Giles took half a step back and uncovered his own erection.

As Giles stepped into the shower Wesley went to his kit and got some essentials. Leaving his glasses by the sink, he went to join Giles. Water splashed over them as they kissed and thrust against each other. Wesley grabbed the squeeze bottle he'd gotten from his bag and the shower was filled with the scent of peppermint. He soaped himself, he soaped Giles, he soaped Giles' thick cock. Giles gasped as the cool of the peppermint began to tingle, he felt more awake and more excited than ever. Wesley smiled at the other man's reaction and bit his earlobe.

This was more than enough for Giles, who spun Wesley around and pushed him forward. Wesley braced his arms against the wall and spread his legs wide as Giles hands teased his nipples and rubbed the muscles in his back and bum. One soapy finger slipped in his back passage and Wesley rocked back against the hot in cold sensation. Two fingers were gently stretching him and then a third to be certain that he could accommodate Giles' thickness. Then Giles probing stopped as he said, "Dear lord, no protection."

Wesley laughed and turned his head back over his shoulder, "Check my kit." Sure enough there were a half dozen types of foil wrapped packets in his bag, different thicknesses, sizes, and textures. Giles raised an eyebrow as he quickly picked out a brand that he knew would fit him and slipped it on.

Stepping back into the shower he found Wesley washing his hair and soaping his body. Giles pressed a kiss to Wesley's mouth and was rewarded with a smile. Gently Giles braced him again and soaped up his cock. As he began to push in Wesley pushed back on him. When he was into the hilt he reached around and took Wesley's erection in hand. They easily found a rhythm together as Giles kissed down Wesley's vertebrae. Hands and hips moving faster Giles could feel them both rushing toward climax as the water pounded over them. Sensation piled on sensation hot and cold, tight and tighter until Giles bit Wesley's shoulder and released them both. Wave after wave washed over them until finally Giles withdrew.

Wesley slid off the used condom and tossed it into the trash. They kissed and slid and soaped until they were both ready to melt down the drain and then stepped into the bathroom to dry each other off.

Giles led his lover to the bed and pushed him into it. Wesley lay on his back with his eyes half closed reveling in the sensations as Giles explored his body. Whenever a leg or arm or ass came within range he'd stroke or kiss or lick it, but for once he was content to lie back and enjoy the sensations. He was already as stiff as a board and from what he could see Giles was too.

When Giles began to lick the head of his penis, Wesley tapped Giles' head. "Only if you enjoy it," he said with a sleepy smile.

Giles came up to kiss him and stated, "I enjoy everything about making love to you," then began to kiss and lick and nip his way back down. He mouthed Wesley balls and smiled at the groan he'd caused. Licking from base to apex, Giles slid back the foreskin in front of him and licked the sensitive head. Salty and bitter pearls were oozing from the tip and Giles flicked them away and began some serious ministrations. Sucking and swirling Giles felt Wesley begin to thicken and jump. Swallowing the savory fluid, Giles realized that a very talented hand had begun to clasp and pull at him.

Wesley rolled Giles back and kissed the mouth that had just given him so much pleasure. He loved that moment when he could taste himself and his lover, as if for a moment they'd become one. Now it was his turn to minister to a rampant cock and he deep throated Giles thick tool with ease. He could feel how close Giles was to his climax and swallowed. With a deep cry Giles splashed the back of his throat. Wesley drank greedily.

In the afterglow of kissing and stroking, Wesley settled himself against his lover's shoulder. Slowly their breathing deepened and they slept in each others' arms.

* * * * *

Rupert Giles settled back in the bed in that wonderful moment between sleeping and waking. He was definitely aroused and could almost imagine the most delicate kisses and nips being rained on his already straining member. Reaching down to take himself in hand, as it were, his knuckles brushed against short silky hair and his thumb caught in an ear.

"Good morning, gorgeous." Wesley knelt up to kiss him just as the phone jangled.

"Rupert Giles. Yes, thank you. Mmmhmmm," Giles was writing down a message as Wesley's teeth scraped his shoulder. His voice dropped an octave. "Thank you again."

Wesley's eyes sparkled, "Thirty seconds earlier and we'd have been making embarrassing explanations in an ER." His tongue and lips were busy exploring the back of Giles' neck.

"Yes, well, thank heaven that wasn't the case."

"How long do you have before your first business meeting?"

"About an hour and a half. I usually shower and ˇ" His ears being licked always made him gasp, "and go upstairs for breakfast before I leave."

"Why don't you put in an order for a nice large breakfast for 2 with room service and I'll keep you occupied until they get here?" A kiss was dropped on a new patch of skin between each pair of words. Giles pulled the younger man up into a fierce kiss.

"All right, but stop distracting me for a moment. The message I took down was from a great restaurant. I was on the waiting list for reservations and a table opened up. Care to be my date?"


Giles picked up the phone and called the number he'd written down. After he hung up, "The opening is early: 6pm. I hope you don't mind."

Wesley was resuming his exploration of Giles' chest. "Not at all." His tongue began flicking the nipple closest to him, "I want an omelet and grapefruit juice and lots of toast and apricot jam and coffee. And I hope they take a very, very long time."

Wesley was kneading Giles thigh and rubbing his feet as Giles ordered a large breakfast for two. When he put the phone back in its cradle Wesley took each toe in his mouth in turn and sucked at it. Giles lay back against the pillow and let a talented mouth work its wonders on him. Wesley was licking his way up his legs, massaging the firm calves and thighs as he moved between them. Nuzzling at the tender sac in front of him, Wesley took Giles' balls in his mouth and released them.

Giles gasped when the flat blade of Wesley's tongue surged up the ridge of his cock. The younger man settled into a steady teasing rhythm, never quite touching the crown but always up and down until Giles begged him not to stop, just to keep doing exactly that forever. At which point Wesley promptly stopped. He slid as much of Giles beautiful erection between his lips as he could and used his hands on the rest. The hot mouth and firm hands were too much for Giles, who cried out as he spurted into Wesley's eager mouth.

Too soon a knock came at the door to the suite, Giles scrambled into a hotel bathrobe and signed for room service. As soon as they'd left Wesley came in wearing an identical robe which did nothing to hide the huge hard-on he was sporting. He sat down on the sofa beside Giles and poured coffee for both of them. "Sugar, cream, ooh... warm milk?"

Giles began to run his hand down the thigh that was pressing against his, brushing his fingertips across Wesley's balls, "CafŽ au lait and two sugars, no make it three, I need energy after last night." When Wesley put down the hot dishes and began buttering his toast Giles clasped his hand around the other man's long slim cock and began to steadily wank it. "Since it seems I'll want to eat American style this morning, would you mind buttering some toast for me? And I prefer either the marmalade or the strawberry jam."

Wesley smiled and did his best not to react to the warm stroking. The preserves were English style with huge whole strawberries in them. He took a very large one and rubbed it over his lips, Giles leaned forward and licked it from the stained mouth before turning back to his omelet and coffee. Wesley gasped as Giles fingers trailed around the head of his cock and he too ate some of his breakfast. Then he grabbed another dripping overripe strawberry from the preserves and smeared it on his chest.

"What a messy eater you are." Giles tongue swirled from nipple to nipple and then he licked the jam from Wesley's fingers. Taking a deep swallow of the hot sweet coffee, he took a piece of Wesley's apricot-jammed toast and fed it to him capturing the younger man's mouth with his own and kissing him passionately. The steady rhythm of Giles hand increased as his tongue ravaged Wesley's mouth. Giles felt Wesley jerk against him as warm cream poured into his hand.

"Good breakfast." Wesley turned to his omelet and attacked it with appetite. Every once in awhile the two men sitting side by side would look at each other over a cup or slice of toast and grin.

"Damn, look at the time. If I'm not out of here in 20 minutes, I'll be late for my appointment." Giles jumped up and sprinted for the bedroom dropping his robe as he went. Wesley admired the view and finished the crossword puzzle Giles had left behind.

In just under fifteen minutes, Giles came out tying his tie looking every inch the cool unruffled magic shop proprietor. "I probably won't be back much before four." Wesley gently took Giles face in his hands and gave him a long lingering kiss. "Maybe between three and three-thirty." Another deep kiss. "I'll be back here by two. And I expect you to be waiting in bed." Giles kissed Wesley quickly, swallowed the last bit of his cold coffee, and left for his appointments. Wesley took a shower.

* * * * *

Giles was glad to be back at the hotel. Ecstatic that they'd managed to avoid a fight at the restaurant. And at this moment he was feeling very protective of Wesley.

The near fight had been his own damn fault. Giles had come back to the hotel later in the afternoon than intended and the sex had been very athletic and relaxing, but lacking somehow from the night before or earlier that day. And then there'd been the problem of dressing for dinner. He'd told Wesley that the restaurant was good, but of course Wesley hadn't packed for a weekend. He was either too formal or too casual, so he'd ended up borrowing a jacket and tie from Giles. And when Wesley saw the prices on the menu, he'd stated in no uncertain terms that he wasn't "a rent boy."

It took several minutes and two explanations for Giles to convince Wesley. Explanation one had been a painful dredging up of sharing a squat with Ethan and the others. Ripper'd made a packet on the game. The proceeds had fed them, kept them in magic supplies, and gone up his arm for awhile.

Wesley had gone very still and apologized. That's when it had come out about Wesley's lady in Los Angeles. How keenly he felt the sting that he was paid to be her bodyguard while also being her lover. How relieved he was on the rare occasions when business rivals still tried to threaten her, that he could defend her and earn his keep honestly.

The other explanation had probably been unnecessary. For most of his adult life Giles had earned two salaries: Watcher's Council and his cover job. And being even an assistant curator at the British Museum Library had carried some wonderful perks. If you're earning two salaries and banking one, well, you could afford your mid-life crisis. Giles was glad he'd taken the time, because he could see the tension ease from Wesley's shoulders. After that it had felt like the date Giles had intended.

They'd ordered from the tasting menu and shared everything. There was just enough wine and far too much good conversation. They'd settled back into the banquettes and talked for hours about mythology patterns, Christian hagiography, maps, and Terry Pratchett. Giles hadn't realized how much he missed conversation with someone who shared his interests, more, shared his education and background. It felt right. The whole evening felt right.

Giles closed the door and kissed Wesley tenderly. It had been a long time since Giles had wanted to be gentle with someone, but that's what he wanted tonight. They sat on the sofa and kissed like teenagers who'd just discovered what their bodies were for. Giles noticed the vee at the nape of Wesley's neck and lapped the hollow of his throat, and Wesley responded with a quiet intensity that made his touch, each brush of his lips resound through every nerve ending in Giles' body.

At very long last Giles stood up and held out his hand to his lover. They walked to the bedroom together nibbling and sucking at each others lips. Wesley undressed him slowly, kissing the scars that showed, and helping to heal some of the ones that didn't. Giles found himself sitting on the bed watching Wesley undress, not like the flirtatious tease of the night before, but like a man who was proud of his body. Proud of what he could share with his lover. When he was naked Wesley stood in front of Giles and rubbed his shoulders. Their eyes locked and Wesley bent down to Giles' mouth for a time stopping kiss.

They lay back on the bed. Wesley turned Giles onto his stomach and began to work his way down the surprisingly broad back. Giles moaned as Wesley lapped the sweat out of the hollow of his back. Parting Giles cheeks, Wesley flicked his tongue quickly at the pink hole he found there and then swirled it over the heavy sac between Giles' legs.

"Wesley," The younger man lay on his back next to Giles who sucked Wesley's delicate nipples. "I want you inside me tonight. Please."

Wesley looked at Giles for a long minute and finally nodded.

"One request though, I want to see my lovers' face as he enters me."

"Anything you ask, love." Once again they kissed fiercely, pressing their hard lengths against each other. Giles slid Wesley's cock into his mouth and, impossibly, roused him more. Wesley pulled Giles hand to his lips and nibbled at his palm. Finally, panting they separated. Giles slipped a condom onto Wesley and slicked his long cock with lube. Wesley warmed some of the lube in his hand and pulled Giles legs over his shoulders. Slowly, one slick finger slid into Giles. Wesley found the right spot and stroked it as he slipped a second finger inside. Giles pushed against his hand begging for more. He loved watching Giles face, the rapture from the pleasure he was able to cause.

Wesley entered him slowly. He heard Giles breath catch in his throat and saw the sexiest smile in the universe shining up at him as he buried himself to the hilt. Wesley's movements were small at first, he reveled in the sensation of being engloved, but when Giles began to move under him, he lost all control. Running his hands over every part of Giles he could reach, Wesley set a hard rhythm. He saw the beautiful cock under him begin to swell and leap and called out Giles name as his own climax wracked his body. His last conscious thought for several minutes was how pretty the ribbons looked as Giles came.

The afterglow was long and sweet. Wesley licked Giles stomach and chest clean as they cuddled and talked softly about nothing. They showered together, soaping each other with long strokes and taking time to kiss and snuggle under the warm water. Wesley was fascinated by Giles' earring and Giles kept telling Wesley how beautiful his eyes were.

At long last they climbed into their very rumpled bed together.

"Wesley, thank you."

"For what? Loving you? Oh dear. I meant making love with you."

"Both. For making me want you so much that I let you inside me. All my experience, but that was the first time I'd ever wanted to give myself like that."

"I, I'm honored. And flattered. And a little frightened by what I feel with you." Giles felt Wesley tense at that admission. He leaned over and kissed the tension away.

As Wesley nestled against his chest, Giles said, "Could you arrange to meet me here once a month?"

"Are there that many Opera first nights?"

"No, but I do need to see suppliers that often. I know that you have your duties and a lover in Los Angeles. I have responsibilities as well, but I think we both deserve some time away from demons. I'd like to spend mine with you."

"If my situation with Virginia changesˇ"

"All I ask is that you tell me in person and maybe introduce me to her at some point. Circumstances may change, but on some bone deep level you've become my friend, and I'd like to spend time with you. In bed or out of it."

"Yes. I'll coordinate with Gunn and Cordelia. Angel won't mind."

"And Wesley."

"Yes, love."

"I'm not in love with you, but I love you too."

They fell asleep on a kiss.

* * * * *

[I'm going to hunt down every descendent of Alexander Graham Bell and serve them to Spike as sushi!] Giles hated being awakened by loud noises. Even his alarm clock was one of those soothing zen chime things. But here it was 9:45 on a Sunday morning and the bloody phone was ringing. A long arm reached over him and put the receiver to his ear.

"Rupert Giles. Oh, hello Willow. Yes, that would be lovely. Do you mind if I bring a guest? In that case, we'll meet you in the lobby at noon. I have to check out by then anyway. See you then."

"My amazing powers of telepathy tell me that we're meeting Willow at noon. May I ask why?"

"She and Tara both finished their last papers of the term late last night, and she asked if they could join me in our customary dim sum lunch to celebrate. She did apologize for waking me, but if they're going to make it on time they need to leave now."

"Noon." Wesley eyed the clock which said 9:50. "Ten minutes to pack, ten minutes to shower, I think we can find something to do for the next hour and fify minutes. Since you're up."

Giles looked down the long body lying next to his. "I'd say we're both up."

* * * * *

Wesley sat on the round sofa in the lobby while Giles completed check out and arranged to pay for Willow's parking when she arrived. Wesley nearly didn't recognize her when she walked through the door. The young witch had changed since entering university. Her clothes and hair were different and she'd acquired a measure of self-confidence. Quite a charming transformation really.

"Willow, Tara" Giles kissed each girl on the cheek. "Willow, I believe you remember Wesley." Wesley shook the wide eyed red-head's hand gravely. "And this is her very dear friend Tara."

Very dear friend! He looked at the two closely as he shook Tara's hand. Yes, they were lovers. Willow had been through several transformations since they last met. And Tara was truly an enchanting young woman as well. Tara smiled at him as if they shared a secret, and Giles led the way to Chinatown.

The restaurant was large, airy, and noisy. The proprietor greeted Giles effusively and took them to a table near the window on the second floor. The view of Chinatown's bustle was terrific and so was the jasmine tea. As the waitresses came by with their carts, many little delicacies were placed on the table and everyone shared in them.

Giles and Willow were discussing her term paper topic, and Wesley and Tara were discovering a mutual interest in obscure ritual magics. Another cart came around with a few new delicacies.

Willow scanned the cart. "Nothing that I recognize."

"Shall we try one or two anyway, that way we'll know for next time."

"I don't think I want anymore pork, but some of the vegetable ones look neat."

Giles started to ask what the green one to the far left contained, but was stumped when this turned out to be one of the many waitresses who understood very little English.

Suddenly Wesley's voice came through in what sounded like bizarre nonsense syllables. The waitress beamed and answered him in great detail. Wesley then selected three vegetable based dishes from the cart.

Tara turned to him, "You speak Chinese?"

"Only Cantonese and Taiwanese I'm afraid. I was hoping to learn the Beijing dialect as well, but then I was sent to Sunnydale."

"Giles, you don't speak it?" Willow sounded a little disappointed.

"I read Mandarin, but don't speak it at all. My specialty's ancient languages. Mostly European and Near Eastern at that."

"Do you speak those languages, Wesley?" Willow was obviously trying to protect her friend's reputation.

"Some of them. Like Giles I read more languages than I speak. And then there are language families. Having learned one dialect of Chinese, another dialect becomes, well not easier, but possible. I can read and fake most romance languages, and, based on a conversation we had earlier Giles can do that with most of the Teutonic languages." Wesley was being diplomatic. His linguistic skills far exceeded Giles', but Giles could out think him on ancient belief systems, a useful talent when trying to puzzle together prophecies.

There was an awkward silence for a moment which Tara finally filled, "So how long have you two been together."

"Oh, Tara, don't be silly. Giles and Wesley are just friends." Though to Willow even that seemed unlikely. Wesley had been a meddling cipher when he was in Sunnydale. How could Giles ever have come to like him.

"I'm not being silly. I know you can't see auras, but even without that they're clearly a couple. See, they just checked each others' reactions before deciding what to say."

Willow looked stunned.

Giles answered. "It's still very new for us."

"I'm so glad. I haven't known you all that long, but it's nice to see you happy."

"Tara, you mentioned auras." Wesley cast a glance at Willow who was still looking stunned. "How do you see them? And since you mentioned them in the context of a relationship, does that mean you see interlocking energies too?"

"What do you mean how do I... oh, I get it. Some people only see white auras and judge things by intensity and stuff. I see colors and when two people care about each other, especially if they've, um, sh-shared energy, I see the auras blend. Together you and Giles are the most beautiful copper color. You must have shared a lot of energy." When the two men looked at each other and smiled, Tara realized what she'd implied and blushed to the roots of her hair. Willow still looked stunned.

Wesley rescued the situation. "That must mean that my aura is... pink?"

Tara nodded, "Well, more intense than just pink, a really deep rose. It's associated with the peace chakra. And Giles is..."

Wesley finished the sentence, "A very rich gold."

"Exactly, you see them too?" When Wesley nodded, she encouraged him. "How do you see Willow?"

Wesley looked again at Willow who looked stunned, "The pretty pale green of her namesake."

Giles interrupted, "I didn't know you could see auras."

"When I came to Sunnydale, no one was interested in my skills."

"True. Why did you sound hesitant about your own aura?"

It was Tara who answered, "It's very rare to see your own aura. Even those who can usually just see the general white stuff and not the color. What color is mine?"

"A beautiful silvery blue and where you and Willow share energy it's that delicate pale blue-green the sky turns between sunset and twilight."

"Thank you. Er, Willow, I've had too much tea. Shall we, um, powder our noses."

"Yes, of course, we'll be back in a moment."

Giles looked at his lover fondly. "Tara is very shy, even when Willow's around. I've never seen her open up to someone so quickly. This is the first time I've understood Willow's attraction to her."

"She's a lovely girl." Wesley's expression clouded over for a moment. "I hope that Willow can accept this, us." Giles covered Wesley's hand with his own.

In the ladies room, Tara turned to Willow, "Willow Ethel Rosenberg. Giles has been nothing but kind and accepting toward us, why can't you be the same for him!"

Willow'd never seen her lover so angry before. "I know, I know, but Wesley? They were barely on speaking terms at the prom. Now they're not just friends but lovers. It's a big surprise. And my middle name isn't Ethel."

"It's hard to sound stern without a middle name, and I don't know yours."

"Yes, you do. It's Willow."

"Then what's your first name."

"Please don't laugh." Tara composed her face and nodded for Willow to continue, "It's Weeping." Tara quickly surpressed the smile. "I strongly suspect that my mother controlled her labor pains with pot. Family legend has it she ate a full meal within twenty minutes of my birth, and everything I've read says that's not normal." She sighed. "Giles looks more relaxed than I've seen him in ages. And I know he hasn't looked this happy since Miss Calendar's death. So, Wesley must have hidden depths."

Tara smiled at her lover with pride. "Exactly."

Lunch was far easier after the ladies returned to the table. Wesley was relieved that Willow had relaxed about him and conversation flowed freely.

Two hours later they all wandered back to the hotel. Willow walked with Giles. "It's good to see you smile. Hadn't realized how long since I'd seen you look so... content."

"Thank you, Willow. I know it's a shock, but I think we all gave him very short shrift in the first place. And he's seen so much more now that it's matured him." Willow nodded.

They stopped by Wesley's bike. He opened the storage space and dug out his helmet. "Oh, I've never been on a motorcycle. Could you give me a ride sometime?"

"Tara, it's too dangerous." Willow looked perturbed.

"Wesley's a very safe driver."

"If you like, I'll give you a quick tour Îround the block right now."

Tara looked pleadingly at her lover. Willow's face softened and Tara asked, "Are you sure?"

Wesley handed her the pink helmet, gave her a couple of safety tips, and straddled his bike. Tara climbed on behind, and they drove off.

"They'll be back in five minutes."

"They'd better be."

When they returned Tara was glowing with excitement. Wesley stored the pink helmet and removed his own. "Well, I'll be off then. I hope I'll see you both again at the opera some time."

Tara gave him a quick hug and kissed his cheek. Willow went to do the same and whispered in his ear, "It's good to see Giles happy. Keep him happy is all I ask." Wesley nodded.

Then Giles stepped forward. They were both English, and that was why Giles pulled the younger man to him and kissed him. There was nothing he could say about his feelings that would convince Wesley like a public display of affection. "See you in a month?" Again Wesley nodded, he didn't trust himself to speak. "Call me when you get home tonight."

With that Wesley drove off. Giles walked Willow and Tara to their car. The girls kissed him on the cheek and he climbed behind the wheel of his new convertible. He smiled all the way to Sunnydale.