Riley Finn was efficient, or so he tried to remind himself as he stood in the aisle at the grocery store that held the various types of hot cocoa. Efficiency meant he should be aiming for the best bulk for the best price. He was a college student, after all. He wasn’t supposed to have a lot of money. Except, well, he also received a hefty paycheck from the illustrious United States Army that ensured he could purchase worthy cocoa.
This was why he had tried to come up with a way for Xander to grocery shop with him. Xander knew how to stretch a dollar while ensuring a high level of quality chocolate was achieved. Riley wasn’t sure how Xander managed to do that, but he wasn’t going to complain because hot cocoa at Xander’s place was beginning to be one of Riley’s favorite past times.
He reached out and picked up a small canister, wishing not for the first time that he had access to an actual kitchen where he could create hot cocoa from scratch like his mom always made. The frat house had a kitchen, of course, but he really didn’t want to risk the other guys finding out he made hot cocoa from real milk and chocolate. Otherwise, he’d never get any peace. Army guys apparently loved their chocolate.
Not as much as Xander Harris, though. Riley smiled to himself, thinking of the last time he had watched Xander devour a Hershey’s candy bar. The noises the younger man had made weren’t that different than the sound he emitted during sex. It had gotten Riley interested, at any rate. Which wasn’t that hard to do as of late. He hadn’t realized that having access to regular sex would turn him into a total, well, slut wasn’t the correct term. Not really. But it was getting to the point where even Xander was commenting on Riley’s ability to find an excuse to pin him to the nearest surface or talking Xander into pining him down in return.
Riley suspected it was the result of finally being able to indulge in his gay fantasies without worrying about being caught in a dank alleyway outside of a club. Well…except for that one time outside of the Bronze. Or the time around the corner from the local cinema.
With the direction his thoughts were taking him, he was almost glad when he heard the familiar, complaining voice of one Buffy Summers. “All I’m saying, Giles, is that if you’re going to hold our meetings at your place you should at least provide proper sustenance.”
The voice that responded to her was British and sounded a lot like Riley’s father when he realized his children were effectively ruining his good time. “This wouldn’t be a problem, Buffy, if the lot of you didn’t attempt to eat the entire contents of my kitchen every Friday night.”
“Details,” Buffy said evasively as she stepped around the corner and into Riley’s aisle.
Behind her an older man followed, pushing a cart that was filled with a strange mix of sensible healthy items and junk food. Riley distantly remembered Xander talking about Giles once or twice. From what Riley had gathered the man was both mentor and friend, which meant he was probably the closest thing Xander had to a father figure, seeing how Xander made a point to ignore the existence of his biological father. Not that Riley blamed him, having had the displeasure of seeing the man from a safe distance. Giles didn’t look as stuffy as Xander had led him to believe, though. From the picture Xander had painted he had been expecting tweed and suspenders. This man was wearing comfortable slacks and a knit shirt. Though, the glasses fit the profile, along with the world weary, suffering expression of someone having to deal with individuals less than half their age.
“You can’t seriously expect me to pay for all of this,” Giles said, though he didn’t do more than sigh when she threw another item into the cart.
“It’s not like I have a job, Giles,” Buffy pointed out. That was when she spotted Riley by the hot cocoa and if he was truthful, he really did feel a moment of panic when her eyes landed on him. There was something about Buffy that was simply intimidating, despite her small size. “Riley! What are you doing here?”
Riley looked down at his small basket and frowned. “Shopping?”
“Well—“ Buffy began.
“Buffy, perhaps you should go get the rest of the things you seem to think I need,” Giles interjected.
Riley felt his spine straighten at Giles’ words and wondered if the man knew who he was. No, taking in the evaluating expression on Giles’ face it was evident that he definitely knew who Riley Finn was. Though, Riley couldn’t be certain that he knew from something Xander had said or from the girls. He hoped it was Xander, because then Giles might have a positive opinion about him. There was no telling what Willow or Buffy would have told him.
Buffy looked like she was going to protest, before her eyes narrowed and sly grin appeared on her face. “Yeah, okay, I suppose I could go do that. I want full details later, though.”
“If you insist,” Giles agreed and waited until Buffy had left the aisle before pushing his cart a few feet closer. Probably so he wouldn’t have to raise his voice in order to threaten Riley, but Riley felt it best to not ask and have that clarified. “I’ve known Xander since he was a sophomore and I must admit, he has terrible taste in who he dates.”
“He’s mentioned a couple,” Riley offered, just to show that he was attempting to be a part of this conversation.
“I don’t approve of him having to hide his relationship with you,” Giles informed him, “but I also understand that I have no actual say in the matter.” Giles paused, eyes narrowing behind his glasses. “I’m not his father, but I feel that as the closest adult he has in his life that I have the right to tell you not to hurt him. The girls will have no problem with defending him from anything you do on a day to day basis, but if you hurt him intentionally…”
“I get it,” Riley said when Giles stopped to take a breath. He hadn’t expected Giles to be the type to talk that much to an almost stranger, but he figured Xander and his friends had to have rubbed off on him over the years. He gave the older man a slight smile. “You guys all care about him and, really, that just proves to me that the way I feel about him is justified. Xander is…probably one of the best things that have happened to me in a good while.”
“Good,” Giles said stiffly, obviously suddenly realizing the uncomfortable content of the conversation. “Just so long as you realize that.”
“I do,” he replied, allowing his smile to widen as he thought of Xander. “I realize more than you know. I nearly lost him once. I’m not going to lose him again, not unless I can help it.”
Giles eyeballed him for a moment, before looking satisfied. The man began pushing his cart once more, pausing when he got close enough to see what Riley was looking at. “Are you searching for Xander’s brand?”
“Uh, yeah, actually.”
“Here you are,” Giles said, reaching out and snatching a canister off the shelf. “It’s the only semi-expensive thing I know Xander to willingly purchase. He views chocolate much in the way the rest of us sees gold.”
“Meaning, just because it glistens and looks nice, it isn’t always the real deal?” Riley surmised, setting the brightly colored can that he had been holding back in its rightful place.
“Exactly,” Giles replied, giving him a pleased expression. Riley had the strange feeling that he had just passed some kind of test, though all of the college education he’d had couldn’t even begin to aid him in figuring out what, exactly, the test had been. Regardless, he was glad that he had passed it. “I should find Buffy before she decides to purchase the entire store.”
“You are the best boyfriend ever,” Xander gushed when Riley presented the can of hot cocoa to him like a caveman offering up his latest hunt. Riley wanted to feel ridiculous for getting such pleasure in the idea of providing for his partner, even if the provisions were a form of sweets, but Xander made it easy to enjoy. “Get in here.”
Riley followed Xander down the stairs to his dark and rather dank basement, wishing not for the last time that he could miraculously share his Army benefits with the man and move him into a decent apartment. He had a feeling, though, that Xander wouldn’t accept such a gift. The man was too stubborn and had enough pride to equate Riley’s grandfather—which was saying a lot.
“I ran into Buffy and Giles at the grocery store,” he commented, allowing Xander to shove him down onto the sofa. He watched Xander freeze halfway to the small kitchenette. A small second later Xander continued on his way, gathering the needed supplies to make hot cocoa.
“What did Buffy do this time?” Xander asked, sounding apprehensive.
“Oh, nothing,” he said with a shrug. “She just left me alone with the closest thing to a father you have. I thought you said Giles didn’t get emotional.”
“Giles cried?” Xander gasped, turning to gape at him.
Riley couldn’t help it: he rolled his eyes. Sometimes, Xander was a bit too dramatic. It was cute, usually. Well, sometimes. “I didn’t say that, but he almost growled at me.”
“I’m serious!” he insisted, standing and walking over. He stepped up behind Xander and wrapped his arms around the man’s waist, taking a small second to enjoy the heat that radiated from Xander’s skin and through his thin t-shirt. “It was definitely scary.”
“Right, Rupert Giles of the Land of Tweed and Tea scared you, the big bad Army guy?” Xander snorted. “Riley, you’re going to make me ashamed to call you mine if you tell me that you’re actually scared of a retired librarian.”
“Are you sure he was a librarian?” Riley asked, frowning. “He was too intimidating to be a librarian.”
“He’s the Madame Pince of the non-Hogwarts world,” Xander told him, passing a mug of cocoa over his shoulder.
He accepted the cup and took a sip, fighting down a curse when it burnt the inside of his mouth. He ignored Xander’s chuckle and dropped a kiss to Xander’s head in thanks. It might have burned his tongue, but it was still the best tasting liquid chocolate Riley had ever enjoyed. Xander certainly knew how to pick the right brands. And, well, apparently so did Giles.
“Well?” Xander finally asked, turning to lean against the counter.
Riley stepped forward, ensuring that he had as much full body contact as possible. “Well, what?”
“Don’t pull that with me,” Xander said with a scowl, though the effect was lost when the scowl was interrupted by a deep moan with Xander finally tasted his drink. Riley felt his mouth go dry as Xander’s moan tapered off into a whimper. He stared at Xander’s eyelashes, which fluttered from the apparently orgasmic joy the man was getting from one small sip of hot cocoa. “Oh, god, that’s good.”
“Oh, yeah,” Riley breathed. He continued, ignoring Xander’s smirk, “And to think that I almost bought another brand because the package was pretty.”
“All that glistens—“
“Isn’t gold,” he finished, smiling. “That’s what Giles said, though not with those exact words.”
“I taught that man all he needs to know about the joys of chocolate.” Xander savored yet another gulp of his drink, emitting noises that Riley thought were much better suited for the bedroom. He knew Xander could feel him getting hard, since he still had Xander pressed to the counter with his hips. Riley had a feeling that this was another one of his games in testing Riley’s control. Riley blinked and blushed, realizing Xander had been staring at him expectantly. “Are you back?”
“Uh, yeah, what did you say?”
“I asked what was it that Giles did that was so scary.”
“Oh,” Riley said. “It wasn’t so much what he said as how he said it. It was like his way of playing the father standing on the front porch with a shotgun. If he was from a small town in the South and you were a girl, we’d be getting married right about now.”
Xander laughed and took Riley’s mug, placing both of their drinks on the counter. “That would imply you’ve knocked me up.”
“Are you saying my attempts have failed?” he asked with a grin. This was why he loved spending time with Xander. He could be utterly ridiculous without worrying about what other people thought. He could tease and play and not have to look over his shoulder while he was doing it.
Xander leaned in, lips barely an inch away from his, and then he pulled back. “Wait, does that mean Giles approves of you?”
“Umm, I think so,” Riley offered in an unsure tone. He thought he had gotten onto Giles’ good side, but it was difficult to tell. Giles clearly hadn’t hated him, but Riley could see that he had some work to do before the man thought of them as Xander-and-Riley. “I think he moved from suspicious to warily optimistic.”
“For the G-man, that’s about as good as it gets,” Xander said with a nod. Xander placed his hands on Riley’s hips and nudged Riley’s chin with his nose, grinning. “I think you deserve a reward. You’ve officially met the in-laws.”
Riley shifted closer, making sure there was no space left between them, and tilted his head to press a gentle kiss against Xander’s lips. He slipped his hands underneath Xander’s t-shirt, sliding his fingers across soft, heated skin. Xander’s mouth opened up under his own, allowing in his tongue while simultaneously emitting a low groan.
He pressed his thigh between Xander’s legs and rolled his hips, pushing up against the hardness he found there. Xander pulled away from the kiss and gasped, hands jerking Riley’s hips toward him again. He shifted backward, tugging Xander with him as he slowly worked his way toward the bed. Riley kissed along Xander’s jaw in order to distract the man from the fact that they were moving, trying to keep Xander arching against him.
Finally, he was able to push Xander down onto the bed’s surface and cover him with his own body. He lifted up long enough to pull his shirt off and help Xander’s with his own. When their chests touched, skin against skin, he let out a moan and pressed another kiss to Xander’s lips.
“God, yes,” Xander groaned out when Riley thrust his hips downward, causing friction with the rough denim of their jeans. “Please, fuck, Riley, please.”
Riley sat up and scrambled to undo Xander’s pants, cursing under his breath as he fought with the zipper. He finally got Xander’s jeans unzipped and tugged them down far enough to release Xander from his jeans, giving him a couple of strokes in the process just so he could hear Xander ask for more. He slid down the bed, kissing a path down Xander’s chest and stomach. He paused at Xander’s belly-button, dipping his tongue into it as he tuned in to hear Xander’s nonstop babble.
“Yeah, yeah, Riley,” Xander panted out, “please don’t stop. I thought, shit, I thought I was supposed to give you the reward, not the other way around? Not that I’m complaining and stop teasing me—“
Riley wrapped his lips around Xander’s erection mid-chuckle, causing a vibration to be felt. Xander let out a keening noise, hips jerking upward.
It amazed Riley how much he loved this. He had never been against giving head before Xander and had even enjoyed it on occasion, but with Xander it was like he craved it. The taste, the sounds Xander made, the feeling of Xander’s thighs trembling against the palm of his hands, and the knowledge that he was the one causing Xander to forget about everything but the pleasure. It was a heady experience.
“Xander,” Riley said, pulling back for a second and waiting until Xander looked down at him with dilated eyes, “this is my reward.”
“I’m not complaining,” Xander insisted.
Riley grinned and gave Xander another stroke before lowering his head. He had just gotten a good rhythm going when a distinct beeping sound hit his ears. He jerked back from Xander and tugged his pager off his belt. A glance at the small screen had him groaning, “Shit.”
“What’s wrong?” Xander asked, somewhat breathlessly.
“I have to go,” he said with a wince. Xander stared at him with wide eyes clearly showing their disbelief. “I’m sorry. Duty calls.”
He hated this. He hated watching the small frown appear on Xander’s face, followed by the small nod of acceptance. It wasn’t just a blow-job this was interrupting; it was their entire evening together. Riley sighed and reached for his shirt, pulling it on with stiff motions. He hated keeping this secret.
It made him feel like he didn’t deserve Xander. The other man was honest with him at every opportunity, but all Riley could do was lie about where he went and what he did every time he got a call or page. Sure, Xander understood that he was in the Army, but he had no clue about the nights Riley spent patrolling. He had no idea what kind of danger there was in Sunnydale.
“I really am sorry,” Riley offered, looking up to find that Xander had managed to get dressed in record time. He leaned forward and planted a soft kiss to Xander’s lips, inwardly relaxing when the gesture was accepted with ease. He kept waiting for Xander to get tired of the secrecy, but so far he’d remained surprised.
“That was horrible timing,” Xander said with a wry grin.
“Tell me about it,” Riley laughed softly, kissing him again before standing. “I’ll make it up to you.”
“I accept many forms of chocolate and expensive diamonds,” Xander informed him.