by Amz

The second hand scratched out a hundred simple moments before Giles tore his face from the sleeping angel to seek out the time.

White curtains fluttered softly. Giles gazed upon the young man's face. A tiny spider nestled in the corner, on the floor, by the bedside table, confidently sewing a home for itself, knowing well that this couple would most likely leave it be.

Oz slept soundly. A door creaked in the back of the flat and other sounds could be heard as the old place sighed and mumbled to itself. The bed was sturdy and comfortable and glorious on Giles' poor back.

Giles had woken in a delightfully twisted mess, with his right arm under Oz's side and his left leg pinned between the wolf's thighs. He ignored the need to stretch and instead stared indulgently into the face beside him.

The need to move became more apparent as a dull ache spread through the watcher's arm. He kept still, however, almost as still as Oz. There was no way that he could wake this boy before his time, if he could help it. Oz was magnificent as he was.

He felt himself frowning again, though, for the fifth or seventh time this morning. He forced himself to think happy thoughts instead of focusing on the slight swelling of the faintest yellow bruise that seemed to frame the young musician's right eye.

He didn't like to think about how it had gotten there and how Oz mightn't even tell Giles at all, because he didn't like fusses either.

Perhaps it was completely innocent. Or perhaps he had imagined the shadow altogether. After all, he'd been staring at the boy for such a long time and he was seeing other things like fangs and laughter and heavenly kisses.

Perhaps he would ask Oz about it later in the day. And if the young man went even as far as to deny its existence, then Giles would leave well enough alone. This time.

Faint sounds of traffic on the road below them drifted up. Giles traced the wolf's lower lip with his left thumb. Shadows deepened on the walls as the curtains fell still.

Giles felt the numbness in his arm recede. The spider crawled up the wall to assess its work. Vague sounds whispered through the flat once more and then the old building was silent.

The wolf slept soundly as the second hand scratched out another hundred simple moments.


"They're from Mrs Allen." Oz remarked as Giles opened the fridge and peered in with confusion.

It was early afternoon, but they treated it as morning and Giles wanted scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast.

"How ... nice." What an odd thing, for there to be twenty or thirty casserole dishes in the fridge, all full of casseroles except for one which was partially eaten. "Ah...?" And how odd for them to be stacked up so high and awkwardly that Giles wondered how Oz had managed to fit anything else in there. "They're all from Mrs Allen?" Giles raised his eyebrows.

"Yeah all of them." Oz chewed, staring at the newspaper. He stopped to drop his spoon into his cereal at one point, to scratch his chin at the exact same time that Giles touched his own face, though neither of them noticed.

"Did you eat any of them?" Giles wondered. He reached for an untouched dish.

"I ate the first one, sort of." Oz shrugged, still engrossed in the paper. "At first I thought she was being nice to me because she's got a crush on you. But then I ate one and I realized she was only trying to kill me off." He shrugged again. "Whatever makes her happy."

"Oz." Giles said calmly, with mild reproach. He rolled back the plastic to smell the chicken/fish/pasta/green looking meal in his hands. His face reacted immediately to the awful stench and the watcher coughed and spluttered a little before tossing the dish onto the kitchen bench.

Oz wrinkled his nose and turned around in his seat. He had to see this. He eyed Giles with fond amusement.

"Oz, really," Giles leaned against the counter. "You can't leave food sitting in the fridge forever." He coughed once more. "How long has that been in there anyway?"

Oz glanced at the dish. "She brought that one over yesterday." He said.

Giles turned to the dish in surprise and then looked back at Oz and burst into laughter.

Oz watched him, smiling. The watcher turned around to sniff the dish again and his laughter increased amidst his look of disgust. Soon it was a higher pitch and Oz was certain that Giles was giggling. He let out a soft snort at that.

Giles slid down the counter until he was sitting on the kitchen floor. He held his stomach and when the laughter finally subsided, he had to wipe a tear from his eye.

"Oh lord," Giles cleared his throat, "It's not that funny at all." He looked up at Oz and laughed a little more. He rubbed at his forehead. "Oh I needed a laugh."

The smile faded a little and Oz pushed his eyebrows together.

Giles took off his glasses to clean them and let out softer sounds of amusement. "Oh she'd die if she heard me laughing like this," he glanced at Oz. "She won a cooking contest once, you know." He slid his glasses back into place.

He now saw that Oz had raised a single eyebrow in disbelief. "Wonder how that happened." Oz remarked.

"Hush," Giles laughed again. "She could be telepathic," he smiled before turning serious. "She could be at the door." And he turned to look at the front of the apartment in suspicion while Oz merely sniffed the air and shook his head.

"It's just her cat Possum. He's having feline slash nocturnal kinda cute, but weird looking mammal identity issues. I'd chase him around the block, but my heart's not in it right now." He extended a hand to help the older man up, but for some reason, Giles found Oz's serious spoken words to be quite amusing and he exploded into a fit of giggles again.

Perhaps it was the mental image of Oz, half wolfed out, chasing that useless cat around the grey streets of town as annoying Mrs Allen watched on, her face a picture of horror. Or else, he had been in the company of poor, devastating Buffy for so long, that the sudden simple, easy presence of Oz made things seem so delightfully amusing.

He wished now, that he had been able to take Oz with him back to Sunnydale. He knew of course that it would have made things much more difficult. They had Oz's control to consider, as well as the small issue of their blossoming relationship.

Giles was tired of being appropriate and reliable and watcher-like. He certainly wasn't a watcher anymore, despite the fact that his slayer who should peacefully be in heaven, was now walking about trying to hide her misery.

He regretted having to leave Buffy. It seemed unfair to expect her to deal with everything she had to on her own. Giles wondered how he would tell Oz of the awful things that Willow had done, though she had meant well in doing them, the silly girl.

Oh, to see those green orbs staring down at him with everything from love to concern was indescribable. He sighed happily and accepted the small, strong arm and allowed himself to be pulled up until those lovely eyes were looking up at him.

"I'll make you breakfast if you like." Oz offered quietly.

"That would be lovely." Giles smiled."