Act Of Nature - Chapter 5
written by Jane Davitt & WesleysGirl

So bolt the door, seal the cracks
Close your eyes don't look back

Giles stripped down to shorts and the t-shirt he'd worn under his shirt, climbed between sheets that were a little clammy, and waited for the room to stop spinning. Not the whisky; he hadn't had that much. Grief and guilt and...

he kissed me... wanted him... in the midst of life, we are... not her, not now... hair so soft... red hair... dark hair... my fault... he tasted so good....

Between one thought and the next, he fell asleep, his body tiring of waiting for his mind to quiet, threads of regret, remorse and desire tangling and binding him even as he slept.

He dreamed of Xander. Not for the first time, but not something that happened often. Dreams can't be bidden or summoned, after all. Giles could spend half an hour lying back on his couch, Xander's voice clear in his ear, and almost as long remembering that voice as the hand that had held the phone dealt with the resultant erection - and still dream of nothing worth remembering past his first yawn. But sometimes he'd felt the weight of a strong body pressed against his, an eager mouth and hands teasing harsh moans from him as he remembered how it felt to be touched and tasted there... and there....

It wasn't like that now. Xander was over him, pinning him down, hard inside him, but Willow was there too, standing in the corner, screaming and bleeding, skin peeling from her in strips. Every thrust tore skin from flesh and he was trying to make Xander stop, because they were hurting Willow, trying to push him away, but Xander was falling forward, dead weight, dead, Xander was dead and he couldn't breathe...

Giles woke into darkness and panicked, his body shaking and his mouth dry. A match scraped and a yellow flame illuminated Xander's worried face. The bright light moved to the candle Giles had left beside the bed and lit it. Xander shook out the match and turned to Giles, standing beside the bed in sweat pants that were just too big for him, hanging low on his hips.

"I was..." Giles swallowed, trying to rid his mouth of sour dryness. "I was dreaming. Sorry. Did I wake you?"

"No. Couldn't sleep." Xander had something clenched in his fist, and it wasn't until he'd brought it up to his face and settled it there that Giles realized he'd been missing the eye patch until that moment. "I heard you moving around in here, and I thought..." His shrug didn't seem to mean a great deal, not in the darkness. "I wanted to make sure you were okay."

Giles tried to relax against the pillow, his body trembling with reaction. "Not really, but it'll pass. God, that was horrible." He decided not to describe the dream; they always sounded so foolish pared down to a handful of stumbling words; 'the monster under the bed reached out and grabbed me' wouldn't have had Stephen King snapping his pen in half with chagrin, but the dream that inspired it might have made any horror film seem pastel shaded in comparison because of what it meant to the child who dreamed it.

Giles wasn't a child and he wasn't about to give the dream substance by telling Xander half his guilt over Willow's death was caused by the knowledge that he'd been distracted from work by thoughts of the upcoming holiday - which had led to it piling up, which had meant he was too busy to personally oversee all Willow had asked him to, which meant....

"Do you want to stay a while?" he asked. "I don't think I'll be going back to sleep just yet." He shuddered and felt the cool air raise every hair on his arms.

As if Xander had seen the shudder - and for all Giles knew, he had - he sat down on the edge of the bed and reached out to rub Giles' arm with a warm, work-roughened hand. "Sure. You want to talk about it? Or is this one of those things where we pretend it didn't happen?"

"I don't want to pretend with you about anything," Giles said slowly, "but I'd rather not talk about it. It was a nightmare, that's all. About Willow. Hardly surprising that I'd have one, but it's fading now." Xander's hand was chasing away the chill that seemed to be deep in his bones, but only where he was touching him. Giles looked at Xander, willing him to understand that this wasn't an attempt to force him into an intimacy he clearly didn't want, and said, "Would you just - hold me? For a moment?"

Xander hesitated for only the briefest of instants before nodding and nudging Giles' thigh with his knee. "Move over."

Giles shifted obediently across the bed, wincing as he reached sheets that hadn't been warmed by body heat. "Remind me to buy a hot water bottle," he murmured, feeling the shivers chase over him again as he turned slightly to face Xander.

"Shh. Come here." Xander slid between the sheets and then pulled him closer, somehow managing to get one arm underneath his head so that Giles found himself cradled on Xander's shoulder as if it were a pillow. Xander's other bare arm wrapped around his waist. "Is this okay?"

Giles nodded, moving his head just enough for his answer to be clear. He'd been expecting a hug, no more, with Xander and he separated by sheets. This was wonderful - warm skin and soft fabric against him, and Xander so close that each shiver was almost instantly calmed, until Giles sighed and allowed himself to relax completely. The arm he lay on was folded between them and he moved it so that his palm lay flat against Xander's chest, his other arm loose around Xander's back. He felt the heartbeat push against his hand and, almost without thinking about it, timed his breathing to match Xander's.

"This is nice," Xander said quietly a short time later. With their combined body heat beneath the covers, Giles was comfortably warm. "You can go back to sleep, if you want? I mean... I could stay."

"I want you to stay, but you need to sleep too," Giles said, the words coming out in a slow murmur. "Can you in here? With me?" He was too tired to hide behind evasions. "And I won't assume it sets a precedent and expect this tomorrow night, don't worry."

"I wasn't sleeping before. I might as well not sleep in here with you, instead of in the other room by myself." Xander sounded as weary as Giles felt.

That was enough to rouse Giles from the drowsiness that tugged at him seductively. "True, but if you think I can sleep knowing you're lying here trying not to disturb me, well, I can't. And if you go back to your room, I have a feeling I'll wake us both up again... so the only solution is that we both start counting sheep, or whatever you do to relax."

The arm he lay on was getting cramped and he eased back enough to be able to bring it across his body, brushing Xander's stomach as he did so with the back of his hand. Xander inhaled sharply as if startled, and his stomach muscles contracted. If Xander hadn't reacted it wouldn't have mattered, but discovering that even a fleeting, accidental touch was more than Xander was prepared to tolerate sent a flash of despair tinged with frustration through him.

Biting his lip, he said, "I'm sorry," in a voice that sounded unconvincing even to him.

But Xander's tone was quite possibly amused when he responded. "Is there some kind of a precedent for counting cold showers?"

"As opposed to sheep?" Giles said with a small chuckle, the despair having vanished as suddenly as it had arrived. He let the arm around Xander tighten slightly, bringing them a little closer together. "I don't think so. In the middle of a December night, in a chilly bedroom, why should the thought of cold showers be in the least relaxing?"

"I didn't say relaxing," Xander pointed out. He shifted his hips just the smallest fraction of an inch away from Giles in a way that made it completely clear what his problem was, even though it was just as clear that he didn't want to refer to it directly.

"Necessary before you can relax, then?" Giles wasn't sure he could cope with this - the knowledge that Xander was lying next to him, aroused and hard, had made his own body respond instantly - but he schooled himself to keep anything but a teasing amusement from his voice.

Xander sighed, and it seemed as though there were layers of meaning in the sound that Giles wouldn't have been able to interpret no matter how well he knew him. The hand behind him rubbed at his back briefly through the cotton of his t-shirt.

"Xander -" A dozen sentences rose to Giles' lips, only to be discarded. Instead he moved back, just a little, hoping that would reassure Xander, and let his hand drift up to rest at the base of Xander's neck. With a slow, firm pressure he began to work at the tense muscles with his fingers.

It was dark in the room, the light from the candle flickering but enough to let him see Xander's eye close. "Thanks," Xander muttered after a moment, tilting his head slightly to allow Giles better access. His hair, long and surprisingly soft, lay across the back of Giles' hand.

The tension left Giles. He still wanted more - wanted to kiss Xander without holding back, to touch him without hesitation - but this was enough for now. He couldn't resist moving his hand up, threading it through the thick hair and spreading his fingers wide. He carried on moving his fingers in slow, short strokes and rubbed a little harder with his thumb, just behind Xander's ear.

Eye still closed, Xander's lips parted as he sighed again, although this time it seemed relaxed, simpler. Xander's hand, still resting near the small of Giles' back, began to move again, mirroring the movements of Giles' own hand, thumb moving in small circles over his vertebrae.
Xander tilted his head a bit more and raised his chin until his mouth brushed over Giles', so very lightly that it could barely be considered a kiss.

The memories that awoke of kissing Xander earlier made it impossible for Giles to keep the regular, soothing rhythm of his hand from faltering, but he disguised it by bringing his hand around to cup Xander's face. As he'd done before, he stroked his thumb gently across Xander's lips, feeling them part slightly, so that when he brought it back his thumb dragged and caught against the moist skin. Xander's hand on his back was making it very difficult to stay in control, but he risked one kiss, trying to make it as brief as Xander's had been. It was no good. He could keep the kiss light; lips closed, nothing but the slightest pressure, but once his mouth was on Xander's he couldn't help lingering.

As it turned out, all his caution was for naught, because a moment later Xander's tongue flicked across his lower lip, turning the kiss into something else altogether. Xander caught Giles' mouth with his own and held it, not aggressively but determinedly, the hand on Giles' back pulling him a bit closer as Xander made it very clear that Giles wasn't the only one craving more contact.

With a rush of relief, Giles returned the kiss, letting his hand slip around Xander's shoulder to lie against his back. That moved him forward just enough that his thigh brushed against Xander's, and he let it stay there without doing any more to bring them together. For tonight he was more than willing to let Xander set his own pace; give him whatever he wanted without pressure.

Slowly, languidly, he nipped at Xander's lower lip, kissing and biting it gently until Xander's mouth opened for him.

The inside of Xander's mouth, warm and inviting, tasted faintly of mint, and his tongue met Giles' in a way that was both tentative and strongly arousing. They took their time about getting to know each other - long, slow kisses accompanied by the occasional gentle sound of pleasure. Giles felt Xander's hand move to the waistband of his t-shirt, then slide up underneath it, caressing the bare skin of his back.

As he had done since this began, Giles followed Xander's lead and added a little extra, letting his hand wander over Xander's back, blunt nails scraping and digging in just enough to be pleasurable, as his hand went lower, teasing the skin just above Xander's sweatpants but never going beyond that.

Xander arched against him, allowing Giles to feel the iron evidence of his desire plainly for just a moment before Xander's lower body moved back again, almost as though Xander weren't sure that his reaction had been acceptable, as assumption that was confirmed when Xander murmured, "Sorry - couldn't help it."

Giles couldn't answer immediately because he was dealing with the flood of sensation that brief contact had sent washing over him. He couldn't remember ever feeling so aroused from just kissing and holding someone. Wanting more now, and praying Xander wouldn't pull back, he shifted forward until his erection was firm against Xander's body and murmured, "I'm not sorry, and I did that on purpose."

He felt Xander shudder, felt Xander's hand slide down the length of his spine and still lower until it was cupping his arse. "Tell me if you don't want..." Xander groaned softly as his hips pushed forward, and he seemed to forget what he'd been planning to say. "God you feel good."

"I want you, Xander. God, can't you tell?"

The waistband of Xander's sweatpants was loose enough that sliding his hand down and inside was easy, and Giles didn't hesitate, letting his palm curve against the flesh it held. He wanted to see Xander, strip them both bare and explore every inch of a body hidden from him by clothes, sheets and the near darkness, but, holding desperately to a control that was close to slipping from his grasp, he settled for kissing Xander, trying to make him see how willing he was to have this go as far as Xander wanted.

He could feel Xander hard against him and, almost without thinking about it, twisted around just enough that his erection lay against Xander's, rubbing against him with an urgency he couldn't hide any longer.

Xander clutched at him, his other hand going around to the back of Giles' head as they kissed more fiercely now. "If you don't want me to come we'd better stop," Xander managed. "It's been a long time. Not sure if I can - " He gasped, trembling as he clearly fought off the release that his body so desperately needed.

"I do want you to, and if you want us to stop now, you'll have to come up with a very convincing reason," Giles said, his mouth a bare inch away from Xander's, kissing him between words because he couldn't not kiss Xander when he was right there. "But not like this -"

He moved his hand up, gripped the top of Xander's pants and tugged at them, sliding them down a little with Xander's help, then he left Xander to deal with them while he rolled away and stripped off his own shorts and top. The cool air made him shiver as the sheets slipped away, but he hardly noticed. Even a few seconds without touching Xander seemed unbearably long, but it was worth it to have nothing between them.

Giles turned onto his side while Xander was still on his back and bent his head to kiss him, letting his hand trail up Xander's thigh.

Xander kissed Giles' mouth, sucking on his lower lip and catching it briefly between his teeth. Every muscle in the younger man's body was tensed as if holding back was almost more than he could handle, Xander's hands reaching to touch Giles greedily, running over his skin as if he needed to touch everywhere at once. Upper arms, shoulders, chest, stomach, and each place he touched left Giles warmed and aroused, aching.

Giles groaned, his hand on Xander's hip and his thumb making restless circles in the hollow beside it, longing to slide it across and touch Xander, feel him hard and hot in his hand. "You're just - Xander, I can't -"

Giving up on any attempt to be coherent, Giles moved down a little and kissed Xander's chest, open mouthed kisses that let him taste the skin against his lips, his hand moving slowly across Xander's stomach, trying not to lose himself so much in the pleasure he was feeling that he missed any sign that Xander wanted him to stop.

Not that there seemed to be indications of that, not with the way Xander was writhing slowly against the sheets, one hand gripping onto the pillow beneath his head while the other continued to touch Giles. "Please," Xander gasped. "God, Giles..."

That was too much for Giles to take. He reared up, throwing the sheets off them so that he could see Xander properly, one swift, possessive glance that left him shaking, because if Xander was close to pleading, Giles was ready to beg.

But he didn't have to. He lay against Xander and reached down between them, running his fingers over Xander's cock without any attempt to be gentle or to tease. Not now. He felt it jerk and twitch and jump in his hand and smiled down at Xander, holding it tightly and stroking his thumb along the underside from base to tip. He was so close to coming just from that, just from touching Xander and feeling his own erection against Xander's skin. He moved across enough that their cocks touched and let his hand slip to the side.

Xander was panting, desperate needy breaths accompanied by soft whimpers on the exhale, twisting beneath Giles. And then all at the same time his hand grabbed onto Giles' hip hard enough to bruise, and he thrust upward against Giles' body, the head of his cock bumping slickly along Giles' own erection.

A low groan escaped Xander, and Giles felt the hot wet throbbing of the other man's release along his own skin.

It was all Giles needed. Slick skin to thrust against, the sounds Xander was making - no, sounds he was making - and he felt his hips jerk forward helplessly, his hands clutching at Xander, needing to anchor himself against him as he came, needing to watch Xander's face twist and slacken, Giles a step behind him all the way, so that when the last shudder left him, Xander's arms were around him, holding him close.

Sated, he listening to his own breathing gradually slow and the sound of the wind outside blowing the rain against the windowpane. Xander's hand stroked along his back gently, making him feel cared for, cherished. "Okay, that was way better than counting sheep," Xander said after another minute or so, his voice sleepy.

Giles smiled against Xander's shoulder and kissed it gently. "Better, yes, you'll not get any argument from me there... but slightly messier. Let me find something -"

He summoned up a last flicker of energy and lifted his head. Beside the candle were his glasses, and in front of them a box of tissues, new and with the first tissue neatly pulled out. Somehow Giles felt he had Mrs Stewart to thank for them, even if she'd probably not expected them to be put to this use. Grabbing a handful, he took care of Xander, who looked as if he'd be asleep in minutes, and then himself, before blowing out the candle.

He was pleasantly surprised when, even half asleep, Xander pulled him close again, settling them into a comfortable position. "You okay?" Xander mumbled.

Giles brushed back a lock of Xander's hair that was tickling his nose and smiled into the darkness. "Far more than that. I -" He hesitated. No. Telling Xander he loved him wouldn't be a lie; it'd been true on a different level for years now, after all, but not tonight. "Thank you. Now sleep, or you'll make me think you do prefer sheep after all."

He could feel Xander's answering smile against his temple. "Haven't been in Scotland that long," Xander said, but almost immediately afterward Giles felt him relax into sleep with a gentle sigh.

Giles closed his eyes and pushed everything from his mind but Xander. He half wanted to stay awake because he couldn't recall the last time his body had felt like this; relaxed, satisfied, alive, and if he could have seen Xander and watched him sleep, he might have tried, but the darkness was absolute and he fell asleep almost at once.

His sleep held dreams, but no more nightmares.

Read: Chapter 6