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Giles is thinking of buying a mobile phone. Buffy should be able to get in touch with him at any time; it's part of his responsibility as a Watcher. She should never have to face trouble alone just because he happens to be out jogging or grocery shopping.
And, of course, he'd never again miss one of Oz's calls. They come at odd hours, often late at night after band practice or after his mother's gone to sleep. Usually, Giles is asleep too. Once or twice, when he's been especially tired, he's slept through the ringing, and Oz has spent the night awake and worrying. Most of the time, Giles wakes with a start and rushes downstairs to answer, eyes still half-closed, body numbed with sleep. It's not very safe.

A few days ago, he bought an extra-long cord at Radio Shack, and now he brings the telephone upstairs every night. But something about the cord that trails across the floor and loops up over the loft railing embarrasses him. The effort of it, the visibility, makes him think of Buffy writing Angel's name on the cover of her notebook in carefully shaded block letters. When she notices Giles looking, she covers it with her hand. Declaration and shame all at once--that's how children fall in love. And Giles hasn't been a child for twenty-five years. Since he was Oz's age.

Yet knowing that it's adolescent, excessive, obsessive doesn't stop him from keeping the telephone nearby. Tonight it rings at a little past midnight. Giles is just dozing, the copy of Sula that Oz lent him fallen onto the quilt. He's enjoying the book, although he only started reading it because Oz wanted him to.

His hand finds the telephone before he's quite awake. "Hello," he says dazedly, happily. Most people panic if the telephone rings late at night. It means death, disaster. Although he knows it's irrational, although he knows death and disaster are never far away, when Giles is awakened by the phone he smiles in his sleep and thinks Oz.

"Hey, Giles."

"Oz." There's a smile in the name itself, a murmur of contentment: the 'z' sound raises the corners of the mouth, lingers in the throat, and sighs across the palate. Giles has thought about it, whispered it experimentally to himself at times when he ought to be researching. "How are you?"

"Okay. Practice was good. Except that Devon's talking about how we need an image. Which is backwards. Chords first, and possibly even songs. Otherwise, we're just a boyband with really bad clothes."

By the end of this--it's a lot of talking at once, for Oz--Giles is awake enough to laugh. "Perhaps there's a marketing niche for that. You could all be millionaires by the time you're twenty."

"We'd need a new name," Oz says consideringly. "Something boyband-y. Dingoes Ate My Baby is kinda not marketing friendly. We could be The S'Dale Boys, I guess. Funky, and yet suburban."

"Would you have to be re-named as well? Danny-O or something? Do warn me. I'll need time to get used to it."

"Nah. I'll stay Oz." There's a brief silence, but before Giles can speak, Oz sighs and says, "I miss you. Wish I was there instead of here."

"So do I," Giles says, hoping it comforts Oz a little. "When you're not here, the bed feels too big."

"Wish it was still summer. No school and no -" No Buffy, Giles hears him not saying. "And lots of time." Thanks to Buffy's holiday with her father and Theresa Osbourne's spectacular parental indifference, they'd spent many days and almost every night together. It became routine, peaceful and free of anxiety. They read, watched videos, listened to every album in both their collections, learned to cook bouillabaisse, and almost forgot that this wasn't how it normally was.

"I know. I'd love to be back in the mountains with you, even though sleeping in the van does things to my joints that make me feel a hundred years old. Or back on Catalina, sunburnt and soaking wet because a certain person kept splashing me." Remembering their summer travels fills Giles with a heavy, foggy nostalgia. Strange, how even happy memories can decay into grief.


"Yes." Anywhere but here. It's a game Buffy's friends play. Giles has heard them do it, and he understands the sentiment all too well.

"I'm such a baby. Sorry."

"You're not. Do you think I don't feel the same way? Do you think I don't miss you?" Giles tries to keep his voice light, playful, instead of echoing Oz's sadness back and adding to it with his own. "Silly. If you were here right now, I'd kiss you until you knew better."

"That could take lots of kisses." The wistfulness in Oz's voice is shaded with teasing, now, and that's good.

"I don't mind." Giles closes his eyes against the lamplight and tries to will away the mile between them. "But is there room enough on you for all those kisses? I could feed you chocolate bars, I suppose, to fatten you up and make space, but that would be rather slow. Well, perhaps if I try very hard I could squeeze them all in. A spiral, like the candles on my birthday cake, from the top of your head to the tip of your little toe." He's vaguely aware that he's talking nonsense, but it doesn't really bother him. Sometimes nonsense makes Oz happy. "But when I get to your mouth, I might lose my way. Forget where I was going. Because it's so lovely there. So warm and so sweet. I'd want to taste all that sweetness, lick it up with my tongue."

"Would you?" Somehow the nonsense has taken a detour of its own. Oz is breathing a little faster, a little louder.

"I'd want to kiss every last inch of your mouth. Explore all the secret places. Would you want me to do that?" Giles isn't sure Oz will answer. This is something they've never done, not in all their late, lonely conversations.

"Yeah. I'd like that." Oz's voice quivers, and Giles can almost feel its breathiness in his ear, shivering warmly down his body. He switches off the lamp.

"It's so good, kissing you," Giles says. "Licking you deep inside, licking your lips, biting them. Sucking your tongue into my mouth so you can taste me too."

"Yeah. Like it when you do that."

"I could kiss you all night. Kiss you forever. Your lips, your neck. I'm kissing down your neck, inch by inch to your throat, and I lick you there and you throw your head back and you gasp."


"Just like that. So beautiful, that sound. I love it when you make that sound." Giles settles back more comfortably on the pillows, unbuttons his pajama top as he talks. "Licking along your neck now. Just the tip of my tongue, quick little strokes. To surprise you, so you make that sound every time. Can you feel me?"

"Yeah, god. Giles. More. Lick me some more."

"I'll do anything you want. I'm licking your neck, following the vein with my tongue, and you're shaking under me. Begging me for more. God, the sounds, and you're digging your nails in my back and moving your hips and your skin tastes so good. Biting you now, right on the side of your neck, my teeth in your beautiful skin."

No words from Oz now, just a moan.

"Oh yes," Giles says, fingertips circling over his chest and belly. His cock aches, hard and untouched, but he wants to wait for that. "Biting you so hard I'm going to leave a bruise. Leave a mark on you. Do you want that?"

For a few seconds Giles hears only strained breathing, then Oz says, "Want that. Wanna look in the mirror, see what you did to me."

Giles' cock jumps, his breath catches, his fingers claw involuntarily against his chest. "Christ, Oz. Everywhere. I want to bite you everywhere. Mark you. So you remember. So you think of me."

"Always think of you. Always."

"Do you? Do you think of me when you touch yourself? When you wrap your hand around your hard cock and stroke, do you pretend it's my hand?"

"God, yeah. Your hand, your mouth." The words are wet, slurred, and Giles can see Oz jerking himself, slow and luxurious, open-mouthed, tongue flicking over his wet lips.

Through the soft flannel of his pajamas, Giles strokes his palm over his own erection, shudders and gasps. "Oz. Wait. Wait, don't come yet."

"Giles," Oz whispers, half plea and half sob.

Giles' fingers outline the shaft of his cock, glide up it, tease at the foreskin. "I want to fuck you. Let me fuck you. Help me do it."

There's a long hiss of indrawn breath, then, "Fuck me." Not so much a plea, now, as an order.

"God, say that again."

"Fuck me. Giles. Need you to fuck me."

Just words, just breath, just air on embers that set Giles burning, his spine one red line of fire, his skin tightening in the heat. "I will. Want to taste you first, though. Want to play with your nipples, lick and bite until they're hard. Hard as your cock, and you're blushing all the way up from your belly, pink and sweaty and beautiful. You're so beautiful when we fuck. When you're telling me how much you want me."

"So hard for you, Giles. Want you. Want your cock, want to feel you."

"You taste so good, and I'm licking all the way down your belly to the head of your cock, dragging my tongue down the underside, and you're pulling my hair and pushing up against me and I want so much to make you come." Oz groans at the word, and dark red heat pulses along Giles' cock. "Open up for me, Oz. Spread your legs and let me touch you."

There's a faint sound of rustling sheets, and Oz says, "Yeah."

"Lick your fingers, now. Get them wet and then touch yourself there. Touch your hole. That's my tongue, Oz. Licking you there, circling over your tight little hole, and it tastes so good."

"Fuck. Fuck. Giles."

"So good, the way you're opening up for me. I can push my tongue in now, just a little, play with you the way you like. Make you moan--yes, just like that--make you arch your back like a cat on heat, like all you want in the world is a good hard fuck."

"Please. Can't wait, don't make me wait, please."

"I'm here, I'm here," Giles says, tugging his pajama bottoms down. "Want you so much, my beautiful Oz, my sweet Oz." He pours lube into the palm of his hand. "Can you feel me, can you feel my cock against you?"

"Yeah. Want. Inside. Please." Between each word there's a gasped breath.

"Pushing inside you," Giles says. "So tight, Christ, but so slick." He draws his lubed fingers down his cock, hearing Oz's grunts and sobs in his ear. "Deeper and deeper, that little mouth swallowing me, so hungry for me. All the way in now. Inside you, this is the best thing, being inside you. Can you feel me?"

"You're in me, Giles, oh god."

So much, Oz's voice and the picture in Giles mind of Oz naked on a boy's narrow bed, telephone tucked against his shoulder, one hand on his cock and the other between his spread legs, two fingers buried inside his own body. "Fucking you now. Moving in and out, so slowly." He can feel Oz, too, the tight ring of muscle and the heat inside him and the sweaty friction of skin touching skin. "Rubbing just right inside you, rubbing just the right spot." It's so much that he's coming unmoored, losing distance and gravity, free-floating in sound and touch.

Oz has gone almost silent except for short gasps and little grunts deep in his throat, the ones he makes when it's good, when he's limp and helpless with pleasure, when he trembles and his eyes roll back. They're both unanchored now, both drifting in the telephonic ether.

"Love this," Giles says, trying to match the rhythm of Oz's breaths, of his own thrusts into his tight fight. "Love to fuck you, love the feel of you, love the sounds you make. Love to make you come. So close, Oz. So close. Want to feel you come. Feel you shake, feel your muscles clench around my cock, hear you-"

"Giles, gonna-" and then a long, growling moan.

Giles feels all of it, the spasms and the pulsing of Oz's cock and the spurting of his come, feels Oz's hands grasping his wrists and Oz's hips shuddering beneath him. It's all real, realer than the bed or the telephone he's clutching or the room that's spinning down into darkness. He's saying Oz's name, thrusting quick and deep, coming in a flash of whiteness that turns his bones to ash, and Oz is here with him. Surrounding him, sharing it all.

For a while they don't talk. Giles listens to Oz's light panting and his own deeper, rougher breaths as they steady and slow. He plays idly with his softening cock, sparking pale afterimages of pleasure. "Did you like that?" he asks finally.

Oz laughs, low and quiet. "'Course I did. You . . . it's cool that you can, you know. Talk. Like that." After a moment he adds, "It's sexy."

"Careful what you say. Now you'll never get me to shut up."

"I'll risk it. Love you."

"I love you."

"Still wish I was there with you."

"I know. I'll try to get free on Saturday night."

Oz sighs and doesn't answer.

"I always love you," Giles says. "Even when-"

"Know that. It's okay, Giles."

It's nothing like okay, and he hates the sorrow that has come back into Oz's voice, undiminished by a few minutes' imagined contact. But imagination is their only weapon, their only shield. "If you were here right now, I'd pull you down on top of me, and hold you as close as I could. So close I'd be bruised from your sharp little bones. I'd tell you how much I love you. Whisper it in your ear while you drifted off to sleep. So you'd know it even in your dreams."

"That sounds good."

"I'm holding you right now. Can you feel me there with you?"

"Almost," Oz says. "Almost."