When Giles entered his apartment, he found a familiar and comforting sight. Oz, stretched out on Giles' living room floor, feet bouncing to music. And once again, a familiar scent hung heavily in the air. Giles decided that giving Oz a key to his apartment had been a good move. If nothing else, he could now rely on the fact that there was not a stoned werewolf on the road since Oz had access to Giles' apartment and was aware that he was welcome to come and go as he pleased. But the scene this particular day was a bit different. It took a few beats to figure out what had changed, but he finally figured it out. The scent was lavender, not marijuana. And Oz was on his stomach on a polar fleece blanket, surrounded by snack foods -- crackers, grapes, cookies, juice boxes -- and concentrating on shading figures in a coloring book. "Hello."

"Oh, hey, Giles." Oz stood and stretched. "Jordy! Come on in here. There's someone you need to meet." When a small boy came speeding out of the kitchen, Oz attempted to glare sternly. "What did I say about running inside?"

The child came to a halt, shoulders slumping. "Sorry."

Oz grinned and ruffled Jordy's hair before sitting on the couch and pulling the boy onto his lap. "Giles, this is Jordy. He's the one who, well, you know. His family is visiting mine this week, so I thought he should meet you."

Now Jordy frowned. "Can I read now?"

"Yeah." Jordy slid off Oz's lap and pulled a battered paperback from the pile of books on the floor. Oz noticed Giles turning his gaze from the coloring book to the child paying absolutely no attention to it. "I'm just using him, you know. Someone my age isn't supposed to like coloring books."

Jordy piped up helpfully. "Coloring books are for babies."

Both men watched the child concentrating on his book for several long moments. "Yeah." Oz sighed. "Giles, can I talk to you? I mean, away from..." He gestured to his cousin.

Giles nodded. "The kitchen?"


After the two adults moved their conversation to the kitchen, Oz stopped talking. He fidgeted, but that was all.

"Oz, are you all --"

"Giles, can I have kids? I mean normal kids?"

The question came so suddenly that Giles barely had time to realize he had been interrupted. Finally, his brain processed the query. "I don't know."

Oz sat down on the floor, resting his back against the kitchen cabinet. Quietly, so quietly that Giles thought he was imagining it, Oz sighed. "So it's probably pointless."

There was a long pause, during which Giles waited for Oz to continue. When this didn't happen, Giles sat down on the floor next to Oz and pulled him into his arms. "Oz?"

The smaller man sighed again and wrapped his own arms around Giles. "I'm going to cry now, okay?"

Gently, Giles pushed Oz's head to his chest. "Please do."


They remained in that position for a long time, until Giles' sweater was fairly soaked, and Oz was completely exhausted.

"Oz?" Big eyes in a small face gazed at the teen, a small hand clutching his knee. "Are you okay?"

Oz blinked, clearing the last few tears from his eyes. "Yeah." He pulled Jordy onto his lap and sighed. "This was what I wanted, Giles. To be a dad. Not now, of course, but some day."

The older man removed his arm from Oz's shoulders, watching the teen hug his cousin. "I'm sorry. But there are other ways --"

"No." Oz cut him off. "That's not what I mean. If I can't be a father, there's no point..." He trailed off, once again obviously not finishing his thought. "Jordy, let's get your stuff. Your mom is probably wondering what's taking so long. I don't want her to worry." Once his lap was vacated, Oz slowly stood up, as did Giles. "Thanks, Giles."

"For what? I didn't do anything. If anything, my lack of an answer made things worse."

"But you were here." Oz quickly embraced the former Watcher and just as quickly released him. "And that was enough." He rubbed his eyes. "Now I have to go do the family dinner thing, but can we talk later?" Giles nodded. "Thanks. If I have to get bad news, I'm glad it's from you."


Despite Giles' fear that Oz would change his mind about discussing things further, the teen appeared at his doorstep that evening. They took their usual seats on the floor, this time on the fleece blanket rather than the carpeting itself.

"So what exactly did you mean when you said things were pointless?"

Oz sighed. "It's not what you think."

Giles frowned. "Oz, if you need help --"

"I'm not about to kill myself, if that's what you think."

Giles stared, stunned. That was exactly what he had thought -- that Oz felt it was pointless to go on living if he couldn't father children. Clearly, an explanation had to be forthcoming.

And Oz did not exactly disappoint. "I meant, it's pointless to try for the married-with-1.8-kids thing. I can stop ignoring..." Now he trailed off once again.

Now Giles ignored the voice in his head telling him to let Oz continue at whatever pace he deemed appropriate. "Stop ignoring what?" Oz shrugged, once again stretching out on the floor so he could stare at the ceiling. Giles sighed and followed suit. "You are going to have to talk about this, you know. You mentioned this to me for a reason."

"Yeah, I realize that. It's just..." He sighed, sitting up. "I'm not sure I'm ready to talk yet." He scooted closer to Giles, fingers kneading and stroking the soft plush of the blanket. "He's a good kid. I put this blanket down so your carpet would be protected if he spilled anything, and he didn't even drop a crumb."

Giles sighed. "But..."

"I don't know." Now Oz's fingers moved closer to Giles. "I guess I have no point." His fingers brushed Giles' arm.

Giles' arm jerked away. "Oz --"

"I'm sorry." He pulled his hand away.

"You didn't let me finish." Now Giles sat up and waited until Oz was gazing into his eyes before continuing. "I'm ticklish there. I have inadvertantly hit people who have touched me there. It's a reflex. I'm warning you now before things get out of control."

Oz closed his eyes before speaking. "Is losing control a bad thing?"

"No. At least not right now. And look at me." Oz obeyed. "Neither is informed consent." He smiled at Oz's quick intake of breath.

"So does that mean I have to actually say things?"

Giles lowered his eyes to his hands, considering the question. Finally, he lifted his gaze back to Oz. "Not if it means you won't do anything if you have to say things out loud."

Oz inhaled quickly again. "So it's okay?"

"What's okay?"


A knock at the door interrupted their soft kiss. Giles pulled away reluctantly. "I'd better get that."

Oz nodded. "I'm going to get something to drink. Want anything?" Giles shook his head.


He opened to door to find a listless Willow. "Hi. Your book. Thanks."

Giles accepted the volume. "Would you like to come in?"

She shook her head. "Is Oz here? I saw his van down the street." When Giles nodded, she sighed. "That's what I was afraid of. No, I need --"

"Hey, Will." Oz stepped into the living room, shoulders slumping just as hers were. "How are you doing?"

"Been better." Her eyes were pinned to Giles' shoes.

"Willow, Oz, I'll just leave you two alone and --"

"No." Willow's voice was strained. "I'll leave. Oz, I hope you find the answers you're looking for."

After the door closed behind her, Giles turned to Oz. "Would you care to tell me what that was about?"

Oz sighed. "Willow and I are kind of taking a breather right now. There are some things I'm trying to figure out, and she's agreed to let me." He paused. "Some things I'm trying to figure out, and other things, well, I'm just trying to sort out what I need to think over. And that interruption -- as short and as weird as it was -- gave me time to think. Something just kind of clicked into focus."

"I see." Giles closed his eyes, wondering if he really wanted to know the answer to his next question. "And am I one of the things you're trying to figure out?"

Now Oz frowned. "Sort of. I mean, it's not you, exactly. Which is why I'm here talking to you about it."

"Would you care to explain what you mean?"

"Yeah. I would love to. If I could figure out how."

"Ah." Giles contemplated the situation. "So is this the part you're not sure you can talk about?"

Oz nodded. "But I can say that I was hoping that you didn't just happen to have this stuff. That you know how to use it." He pulled his hands out of his pockets and revealed the contents. Condoms and lube.

Giles stared. Those items had been in his medicine cabinet. Suddenly, he realized what Oz was talking about. Not Giles. Just the idea that Oz could be attracted to another man. Maybe even just curiosity about the physical aspect of things. And their friendship -- coupled with the fact that they already shared a secret in the form of regular vinyl-and-pot parties -- was allowing Oz to feel comfortable enough to come to Giles with this problem. And if Giles turned him down, just where would Oz try next? That question had several scary possible answers.

Oz mistook Giles' hesitation for reluctance. "Okay, that idea was a bust. I'll just leave quietly now. The night's still young. Maybe I can go scar Xander for life next."

"No, don't go. Please." They both stood there, not looking at each other for a long moment before Oz sat back down on the blanket. "Why, Oz?"

He shrugged. "Not sure. I've been wondering about... things, and I hoped that you could help. I mean, who else could I talk to this about? You're the only one I trust in this situation." He blinked. "I guess I figured out how to talk about it after all."

Giles followed suit. "Are you absolutely sure about this?" Oz nodded. "Well. Perhaps we should move --"

"No. Right here." Now Oz finally appeared flustered. "I mean, this blanket. It's soft. Really soft. Don't you want to see what it feels like right against your skin?" Oz pulled off his shirts and lowered his back to the floor. "I do." When Giles did nothing but gaze at him for a long moment, Oz grew even more flustered and sat back up, reaching for his shirts. "Maybe this isn't such a good idea."

Giles knelt next to Oz, pulled the shirts from Oz's hands, and gently pushed him back to the floor. "It's not going to be like that. I just need to see you for a minute."

"I'm here, Giles. The lamp's on, you know."

Giles shook his head. "Just humor me, all right?" Finally, Oz nodded. "Good." Gently, he dragged the backs of his fingers over Oz's torso. "If you want me to stop, just let me know. But I do want you to know that this will stay between the two of us, just like the music thing." Oz was motionless for another long moment before he nodded again. Now Giles turned his hand over, brushing Oz's chest with his fingertips. Gently, he lowered his mouth to one of Oz's nipples, barely touching his tongue to the nipple before brushing his cheek against the surrounding skin. Oz jerked involuntarily.


"Do you want me to stop?"

Oz shook his head and swallowed before he spoke. "Stubble. There. It's new. I want..." He paused, frowning. "I want..." Finally, frustrated with his inability to find the right words, he laced his fingers behind Giles' head and pulled the older man's mouth up to his own, gently lapping at lips with the tip of his tongue. Giles' fingers returned to Oz's chest, dancing over nipples. Oz moaned softly, opening his mouth just a bit more to Giles' exploring tongue. Finally, reluctantly, Oz slowly pulled away.

"Oz? Are you okay?" Giles sat up, watching with concern.

The teen nodded, breathing heavily. "Just... A few seconds?" He closed his eyes, shifting and grinding his back against the blanket. "Soft."

Giles watched Oz squirming against the fleece and found himself wondering just how it would feel against his own bare skin. Was it a werewolf thing or merely a horny guy thing? But before he could decide whether to find out for himself, Oz was alert and sitting up in front of him once again. And reaching for the hem of Giles' shirt.

"Giles?" Oz's voice wavered with uncertainty. "Is it okay if I do this?"

Giles frowned. "I think we'll have a problem if you don't." Oz pulled the shirt over Giles' head and pressed the larger man down against the blanket. The instant Giles' skin touched the fleece, he realized the attraction of the material. "Wow." He couldn't help it. He ground his shoulders against the floor, savoring the feeling.

Oz grinned. "You like that, too?"

"Oh, yes." He closed his eyes, concentrating on the texture under him.

"Giles, can I..."

He waited, but Oz did not continue. "Yes."

"I didn't say what I wanted."

"It doesn't matter." His eyelids floated open. "Do whatever you want to do. It's all okay." Giles closed his eyes again. "I'm just going to concentrate on everything."

Oz nodded, feeling suddenly self-conscious. Giles was on the floor in front of him, bare-chested and prepared to pay attention only to him, and Oz wasn't sure what to do. Tentatively, he copied Giles' earlier hand- against-chest movements. When Giles' breathing sped up, Oz lowered his mouth to one nipple.

But he didn't do much else. As soon as his tongue touched Giles' skin, Oz pulled back. "Oz, are you all right?"

The teen pulled away. "I... I'm not sure." Giles opened his eyes and sat up, facing Oz. "I don't know what I'm doing here. I mean, is it different from..."

"Everyone's different." Oz dropped his eyes to his hands, folded in his lap. Giles frowned. This conversation needed eye contact. Gently, he tilted Oz's face so they were gazing at each other once more. "I mean I'm different from you, and you're different from anyone else. In good ways." Oz didn't respond, but he didn't lower his eyes. "How about letting me show you things?"

Relieved, Oz fell back against the floor. "Thanks." He moved his hands to his waist, unbuttoning his pants.


Oz froze. "But I thought --"

"Let me do it?" Giles waited for Oz to drop his hands to the floor before making a move. He straddled Oz's hips, leaning down to gently kiss Oz while unfastening Oz's pants. Then he backed up, carefully watching Oz's face as Giles unfastened his own pants.

What he saw in Oz's eyes made him smile. The teen was mesmerized. Giles wasn't sure if this was a good or bad thing, but it was better than nothing. Then Oz reached up to Giles' waist, carefully pulling the waistband over hips. So it was good thing.

Giles climbed off Oz's body. When Oz made a disappointed noise, Giles chuckled. "I can't get these pants off if my knees are still connected to the ground." Oz sighed. Once Giles was naked, he pulled Oz's pants off as well. Carefully, Giles ran his fingers along Oz's hip. "Second thoughts yet?"

Oz shook his head. "But how is this going to work? I mean..."

"Your choice." When Oz frowned, clearly indecisive, Giles pulled a bolster pillow from the couch. "I would suggest that you get on your stomach, though. It's frequently easier that way the first time."

"Just how many times have you done this, Giles?" When Giles opened his mouth to answer, Oz shook his head. "That was a joke. I don't need an answer." He rolled over onto his stomach, taking the pillow from Giles and carefully draping himself over it. "Like this?" When Giles didn't answer, Oz began to move back off the pillow. "Giles?"

"Shh." A gentle, firm hand pushed at Oz's lower back, urging him back down. "Just relax."

"It's kind of unnerving to not know what's next."

"Ah." Giles ran one finger down Oz's spine, stopping just before he reached the swell of Oz's buttocks. "That's next. I just have to get ready. Then I can get you ready."

"Oh. Okay." Oz rested his forehead on his folded arms. He smiled at the small ripping noise of the condom packet and the soft click of the lube bottle cap. Now he could figure out what was next.

And Giles did not disappoint. Slowly, gently, he caressed the tight ring, smiling when Oz first flexed involuntarily and then relaxed with a sigh. Giles slid one finger in carefully. "Are you all right?" Oz nodded. "Just stay like this, okay? I'm going to add a finger." Giles grinned when this addition caused Oz to grind his pelvis against the pillow beneath him.

"Giles..." Oz drew his name out into a soft moan, halting his movement against the pillow only to push back against Giles' invading fingers.

The older man leaned forward, whispering into Oz's ear. "One more finger." To his surprise, the third finger slid in as easily as the first. His smile widened at Oz's sigh of pleasure when he flexed his fingers as well as the whimper of disappointment when he removed his hand. "Are you ready?"

"Yes." The word was little more than a breath, and Oz grew completely still.


"I'm relaxing." When Giles made no move, Oz lifted his head. "Giles? Are you okay?"

He chuckled. "Yeah. Just waiting for you to get comfortable."

"Ah." Oz shifted for a few seconds, rubbing his chest against the blanket, spreading his legs, and trying to find the best position. "Okay. Let's go."


Oz stretched, sighing contentedly. "Giles? Is this just sex? I mean, whatever we have going on here?"

Giles closed his eyes, sending a silent prayer to whatever forces were watching to make this an acceptable answer. "I think so."

"Oh." He was silent, contemplating the answer. "That wasn't the right question. I meant, are we still just friends? But friends who maybe sleep together once in a while?"

His hopeful tone of voice caused a small smile to tug at Giles' lips. "Yes, I have a feeling that's what's going on now."

"Good." Oz curled up against Giles. "That's all I can handle right now."

Silence filled the room. Finally, a question moved from the back of Giles' mind, demanding attention. "So, Oz, would you like to tell me what you were trying to ignore now?"

Oz sighed. "Well, it's pretty pointless to ignore the fact that I wanted to do what we just did. And that I enjoyed it. A lot. I mean, if I don't have to worry about finding someone to reproduce with, I can just worry about attraction. Especially now that I know I can handle what we just did." He fell silent again.

Giles wasn't quite satisfied with the answer, but he decided not to push any more. Oz would continue the discussion when he needed to do so. And that knowledge was enough. For the moment.