Xander was staring at the ceiling. Andrew was off in his own little world, debating with himself whether they, the Scoobies, fit the usual definition of superheroes or not; as expected, the yes side was winning, but Xander had to admit Andrew gave a damn fine devil's-advocate type argument for the other side too.
"A friend told me that each morning when we get up we have to decide whether we are going to save or savor the world. I don't think that is the decision. It's not an either-or, save or savor. We have to do both, save and savor the world."
- Kate Clinton
Source: The Quotations Page
Apparently, this self-discussion was being held for his benefit, but Xander was only half listening. For one, he'd already come to the conclusion, years ago, that yes, definitely yes, they were superheroes even in the sense of comic-bookness (except for the tights. Xander wasn't ever going to wear tights, not even for one of Andrew's weird comic book fetish things; he'd done the Batman-mask thing, and the cape thing, but tights were out of the question -- those things itched); and second, he was just content to lie there, on the bed, blanket and sheets pulled up to his waist, and let Andrew's excited ramblings wash over him.
It wasn't like Andrew actually needed him to reply to anything he said. Sometimes, it all started with Andrew wanting to get Xander's opinion, but more often than not, it would turn into this, and Xander...
Xander loved every minute of this insanity.
"Hey, Andrew?" he said, swallowing against the sudden dryness in his throat. He turned to Andrew with a soft, and not at all even just a little bit nervous, smile. "Come back to bed?"
"...slayers are definitely-- what?" Andrew looked at Xander with a confused expression on his face.
Xander scooted back a little, leaned on his side, and patted the mattress. "Come back to bed," he said again.
Andrew stood up from the stuffed chair in the corner -- it was Comic Book Reading Central since the day they’d brought it back from the thrift store down the street; Xander thought they should probably be looking for a second one soon -- where he'd just sat down and walked up to the bed with a frown. "Why? That's not-- we don't--"
Xander just grabbed Andrew's forearm and pulled him down, finding very little resistance. He pushed and pulled some more until Andrew was settled comfortably against him, and then Xander wrapped an arm around his shoulder and held him close.
"What-- you don’t cuddle, Xander," Andrew sounded shocked, puzzled, and maybe even a little bit weirded out. Xander squashed down the pang of guilt and racked his hand up against Andrew’s side, just as Andrew said: "Something's wrong. What’s wrong?"
"Why does anything have to be wrong? Can’t I just--"
"No." Andrew went still, and then relaxed again. "You're-- you're never like this, not since..." he whispered, and then stopped. There were some things they'd agreed never to talk about and pre-"giant big gaping hole in the ground" time was one of those. Andrew shifted his head on Xander's shoulder until he was breathing against the skin of Xander's neck.
Shivering with something that had absolutely nothing to do with being cold, Xander tightened his hold and kissed the top of Andrew's head. Andrew was soaking up the attention, reveling in the touches in a way that had Xander's heart aching. How had he not known this before? "I just realized something," he said. "That's all."
Andrew just leaned into him and gave a soft sigh. "Okay, I'm glad, because this is good, you know, I like-- I like this."
Before Andrew could start babbling again to try and dissipate the tension, Xander leaned in and kissed him.
It was his fault; Xander knew that, his fault Andrew was so surprised by this. Xander liked this too, always had liked this, the touches, the quiet moments in the morning, when you could just savour what you had and worry about saving the world later, but he'd closed himself off. Even when things with Andrew had started moving in a really weird -- for Xander, anyway -- direction, Xander had still treaded carefully. His job took too much of his time, and was way too risky, for him to become really involved with anyone, and so he’d been distant.
Except now there were a couple of Mbuna fish in a tank in the living room; comic books, at least half of which were Xander's, in piles on the desk, the bedside table, the kitchen counter, and even in the bathroom; DVDs he'd bought mixed in with Andrew's on the TV stand, and even trying really hard to think about it, Xander couldn't remember which were his and which were Andrew's.
It could still be just Andrew's apartment, where Xander got to stay when he was in England; that's what it had been at first, but the stays were getting longer -- two days the first time, and now, he'd been here for almost a month already. His clothes were neatly stowed away in the bottom two drawers of the dresser (his half, he'd been told), his jacket hung next to Andrew's in the hallway closet. His favourite brand of breakfast cereal (substitute with candy, soup, crackers, etc. at will) was always in the cupboard, and half the dirty underwear in the laundry basket was his.
And when Xander left, this time, he knew most of what was his in the apartment would stay right here, and still be there when he came back. This -- Andrew, the apartment, home, the way Xander felt about all of it -- this had crept up on him when he hadn’t been looking.
"Xander?" Andrew murmured when they pulled away to breathe. "You okay?"
Better than, he wanted to say, better than okay, better than I can remember being in a very long time. "Yeah," Xander said instead, lips barely a breath away from Andrew's. "I am."
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