It was quiet. Almost too quiet. He had grown accustomed to the usual sounds of the area -- tree branches brushing against the house, animals making assorted noises, wind doing its best to tear the house apart, especially last night. But now, it was silent.

Groggily, he sat up. He was alone in bed, but this wasn't an unusual thing. He wasn't a morning person, and his bedmate was. So he was usually left alone until the end of the morning jog. He glanced at his watch, resting on the nightstand, and did some quick math. If this morning was like most, Xander would have another fifteen minutes before he would have to be coherent.

"Hey." Oz carefully made his way to the bed, carrying two coffee mugs. "So did you look outside yet?" When Xander just stared blankly at him, the brunette clearly still experiencing morning brain, Oz moved to the window and opened the floor-to-ceiling curtains. "Look."

Xander's eyes gradually adjusted to the brightness. He just sat there, drinking his coffee and watching the outside world, until his brain engaged and he realized what exactly he was looking at. "Snow."

"Very good." Oz climbed into the bed, settling under the sheets and blankets in what had very quickly been agreed upon as their favorite lounging position: head on Xander's shoulder, lengths of both men's bodies resting against each other, all four legs intertwined. "So what do you think?"


Oz smiled up at Xander, lifting one hand to the brunette's ear and tugging it gently. "Oh, you are so talkative this morning." He sat up and away from Xander. "Are you cold? I mean, are you warm enough?"

"Well, if that's an invitation..."

"Oh. Well, sort of."

"Sort of?"

Now Oz shrugged. "We lost power again about ten minutes ago. Another blackout. Just after I got the coffee made."

Xander considered the information for a moment. "So that's why I didn't hear the heater going."

"Yeah. But I can build a fire. It's no big deal." Xander nodded, and Oz crawled out of bed. The house had been built with fireplaces in all large rooms -- really, all rooms except the bathrooms and the laundry room. When they had first looked at the place, it had seemed odd, but now it made sense. The power went out whenever there was a big storm. That was the price you paid for living in the middle of beautiful nowhere. Especially since they weren't actually paying rent. They were acting as caretakers -- living in the house, protecting it from those who had broken in several times the previous year, in exchange for free rent. The owner of the house didn't want to actually live in it. The property was purchased well over a decade ago as a retirement hideaway, and retirement was years off. So the place had been vacant until one day the owner had decided to visit and discovered the vandalism. The very next week, Oz and Xander had been sitting in the local coffee shop and looking for a new place to live when the owner overheard their discussion about possible rentals. In just a few minutes, they had been deemed trustworthy enough to be offered the house and grounds, rent-free, as long as they didn't do any permanent damage. They had a generator, but they preferred to save it for emergencies. Firing it up for heat when they had a nice supply of firewood was not a necessity.

Besides, firelight brought back wonderful memories for them both.

"We're stuck here, by the way. The roads are closed until they can get a plow up here." Fire finally built, Oz returned to the bed once more, peeling off his clothing as he moved. "No power, no place to go, no way anyone can come to us..."

"So what you're saying is that I'm completely at your mercy?"

But the words were delivered with a grin, and they were answered with one as well. "Sounds good to me." Oz moved back to his previous position, resting his head on Xander's shoulder while the larger man began gently stroking Oz's neck -- mindless caresses of the sort that they frequently found themselves participating in for no reason at all aside from the fact that they happened to be close enough to touch. Oz tilted his head up and placed a soft kiss on Xander's jaw.

Suddenly, Xander sat up, dislodging Oz from his resting place. "So where's all the light coming from?"

Oz blinked, disoriented from the sudden switch from foreplay -- at least he had been hoping it was foreplay -- to this query. Then he realized what Xander was talking about. "Xan. There's snow outside."


"And the drapes are open." Xander continued to stare at him blankly. "Sun? Reflecting off a white surface? Brightness?"

Finally, Xander nodded. "Oh." And then he turned his attention back to the snow outside.

Xander was clearly fascinated and preoccupied by the fluffy whiteness outside, so Oz finally pulled completely away from the larger man's body. "Why don't you go look at it?"

Delighted, Xander jumped from their bed. Oz watched with great amusement as Xander wrapped a robe around his naked body before heading for the big doors and opening them, padding out on the balcony in his bare feet. Then the redhead laughed when Xander quickly dashed back inside and shut the doors. "It's cold out there!"

"Yeah, it tends to be like that when it snows." Xander didn't return to the bed, choosing instead to kneel on the window seat overlooking their so-called backyard -- really, a small forested area. Oz grew concerned. "Xan? Are you okay?"

"Hmm?" Xander tore his gaze away from the icy landscape before him. "Yeah. I'm fine. Good. Great. Fantastic." He turned back to the window. "Do you remember what you were doing when it snowed in Sunnydale?"

Oz sighed. "Yeah."

"So do I." Now he rested his chin on his forearms. "And now I'm trying to shove that stuff out of my mind with this."

Oz opened his mouth to say something -- he wasn't quite sure what -- when the meaning behind Xander's words hit him. Xander had not been happy in Sunnydale. But he was happy here. And he was doing his best to displace the memories of his life before with new memories of his life now.

" You know that, right?"

"Huh?" Oh, brilliant response. Oz made a mental note to apologize for being an idiot later. After Xander stopped kneeling on that window seat and wiggling. "I'm sorry. I was just --"

"Distracted?" Xander threw the word over his shoulder, grinning at Oz. And wiggled his ass once more. "Am I breaking your concentration?"

"Xander --"

"What are you going to do about it?"

For one brief moment, Oz was speechless. There was a distinct possibility that Xander was reading his mind.

Now Xander turned to face Oz, concern about the silence briefly flitting across the brunette's face. Then it vanished as soon as his eyes locked on Oz's. "As I was saying earlier, when you weren't paying attention to me, I do love you. You know that, right?"

The information was delivered in a very matter-of-fact tone, and it took Oz several seconds before he could even blink. It occurred to him that Xander's voice no longer held any of the insecurity that it had during their time in Sunnydale. The words were being said because Xander felt a need to say them, not a need to be reassured about anything. If anything, Xander wanted to reassure Oz. At that moment, Oz realized just how much Xander had benefited from the move. And as he gazed at the body kneeling in front of the window, it occurred to him that it wasn't merely the move that had made a difference. Sure, getting away from their former lives had been important, but Oz had a feeling that it had taken more than just moving away from their hometown to cause this change. He himself has a lot to do with it. The redhead sighed happily as that now-familiar lust rolled through his body. It was one thing to have the feeling. It was another to be able to do something about it.

"...over here and help?"

"Huh?" Once again, Oz kicked himself mentally for that response.

But Xander just smiled at him. And shed the robe, placing it neatly along the window seat beneath him. Turning back to gaze out the window, he sighed. "It sure is pretty out there. And I'm in here, all warm and cozy with that fire. I wonder how things could be even better."

Now Oz's brain kicked into gear. Watching Xander's body make vague writhing movements caused Oz to do a little math. One plus one equals sodomy.

Their favorite equation.

Sighing dramatically, as if this was a hardship he wasn't quite sure he could endure, Oz gathered the necessary items before trudging deliberately across the room, face pointed at the floor.

Xander observed this exaggerated death march and grinned. "Oh, yeah, we live an extremely tragic existence." He turned his attention back to the landscape outside. For a second, Oz felt dismissed. Then Xander shifted, knees sliding apart on the bench.

"Stop that." As much as he tried, Oz could not hide the grin in his voice.

"Stop what?" Xander shifted once again, and he was suddenly artfully positioned at the bench. Casually deliberate, and one of Oz's new favorite sights. As if Xander didn't realize he was now perfectly positioned for...

Oz blinked, and he remembered that he was a man with a mission: To make Xander stop moving like that. He stood directly behind Xander, gazing out the window over the larger man's body. "Beautiful." He rested one hand on Xander's hip. "And the snow looks nice, too."

He was rewarded for his words by a lovely flush creeping around Xander's neck. "Oz..."

"Hmm?" The hand slowly moved from Xander's hip, sliding to Xander's cock.

Xander jerked away from the hand. "Oz, don't."

"What's wrong?" Oz knew exactly what Xander wanted, but he wanted it to be expressed. He wasn't too picky about how it was expressed.

And then Xander gave him what he wanted. The brunette leaned back, and Oz stepped closer. He had misjudged the distance between them, and if Xander leaned any further back, he would fall right off the bench, but he didn't even attempt to catch himself. Not for the first time, Oz marveled at the trust Xander had in him. And then Xander pressed his ass against Oz's groin, and it took all of Oz's concentration to not grab Xander and haul him back to bed.

"Okay, back you go." Oz gently pushed Xander away and forward, smiling at the sad whimper the action caused. Then he went to work, preparing himself with condom and lube. It was one thing to get their very own bed messy. It was another to get body fluids on the window seat. Removing those stains from upholstery was a tricky endeavor. Finally ready, he turned his attention back to Xander, allowing his lubed fingers to slide over the flesh in front of him.

Wordlessly, Xander moved, trying to convince those fingers to stay in one spot. But Oz just kept teasing, never allowing his touch to linger. Finally, Xander sighed. One word, but that was enough. "Oz..."

He was rewarded with one musician's finger. And said musician leaning against his back, murmuring, "Is that what you wanted? Or is this what you wanted?" And then the first finger was joined by its neighbor.

Nodding, Xander folded his arms on the back of the bench and rested his head against his forearms. "Oz, please..."

Satisfied that Xander was properly desperate, Oz removed his fingers and slowly replaced them with his cock. Not quickly enough for Xander, of course, but Oz halted his movements and placed a firm hand on Xander's back. "Hey. Be patient." Finally, Xander nodded. He would remain still until Oz gave the go-ahead to move. It was torture for them both, but Oz dragged the process out as long as possible.

Oz paused. He was almost completely engulfed in Xander, but he wanted to hold back as long as possible. Then Xander flexed, tightening the small channel around Oz, and that was it. They were off, pushing and grinding against each other like someone had sounded a starter pistol.

Oz's thrusts sped up, but something felt off. And suddenly it hit him. Xander. Oh, he was clearly enjoying the experience, but Oz had a feeling that there was something that could make it even better. Carefully maintaining his rhythm, Oz wrapped one arm around Xander's chest and pulled the larger man's torso against his own. Still thrusting, he reached around to grasp Xander's cock. "Xan, help me here?" A shaky hand joined Oz's. Once it gained confidence, Oz removed his hand, moving it to Xander's balls. Once more murmuring in Xander's ear, Oz began one of his favorite pastimes: Overloading Xander's brain cells. "Have I ever told you how beautiful you are like this?" Xander whimpered, and Oz knew his time was coming to an end. So to speak. "Here for me. Just for me." He lowered his mouth to the back of Xander's neck, carefully cradling the flesh below the younger man's erection. "And I'm here for you. Just for you." And with those last two sentences, he turned his fingers' attention to that sensitive spot that the pair had discovered on each other the first night they had moved into the house.

As Xander had been rewarded with caresses, kisses, and words of love, Oz was rewarded with an unintelligible yell, two spasming bodies, and a very messy hand. Not to mention the bathrobe. Carefully, he pulled out of Xander.

"Hey. Let's get back in bed."

Xander nodded groggily, blindly obeying Oz as was always the case when their bodies were still tingling. It was something that happened with such frequency that neither of them even noticed any more.

And that's when the power kicked back on. The house came back to life, lit up and humming, as if a magical spell had been broken.

Sighing, Xander leaned against Oz. "So when do you think the next blackout will be?"