In Quiet Moments
by Trekker

It's the little things, now.

Like when Oz finds one patch of flowers, tiny and white, blooming in the park. He wants to bring them to Giles, the only one besides him who's still sometimes staggered by the pinks and golds of sunrise, who's still rendered speechless by the climax of Beethoven's Ninth, but he can't bear to pluck them. So instead he brings Giles to them, and sees a small smile that makes it all worthwhile. Standing there in the sunlight, it doesn't feel quite like they're living in a better world, but it feels like they're living well in a bad one.

They kneel over them, Giles on one side, he on the other, and he watches those slim fingers brush over tiny soft petals, and then, just as tender, touch his cheek. Closes his eyes, and can still smell sweetness on Giles's skin.

And even when the fingers flinch away and Giles stammers words about the library and sundown, even as they walk back, tangibly not touching, he can think: I gave you flowers.


In the apartment they sometimes share, he cooks while Giles reads and whittles stakes. When he's done and he sits beside him with the plate, Giles's hands are still busy, so he turns his head to Oz and takes the bite he offers. As his lips slide off the fork, their eyes meet.

Courtship feeding, he's heard this called.

He smiles. Giles looks quickly to his reading, but he's blinking behind his glasses, and there's a hint of pink behind his permanent five-o-clock shadow.


Out in the park, Oz laden with crosses and crossbow, Giles stalking with his favorite sword, the sunlight fades and Oz says, "Hey, first star. Make a wish."

"Bloody dangerous, wishes," Giles says, so Oz catches his arm, makes him look up. Sees, even in the dying light, the old, flickering hope. Above them, like fireflies, the stars come out. Other worlds, far from here. They do exist.

They stand in silence and Oz's hand is still on Giles's shoulder. Then they remember the dark is dangerous, and they look away, but for a moment as they begin to move again he can feel warm fingertips, shy on the small of his back. Then they are gone, but he keeps smiling, and they are still two people strolling together in the park.


Red paper hearts hanging next to the garlic in the halls. Valentine's Day is coming, and there will be a dance Saturday morning. Oz can't decided if it's sad denial or valiant affirmation of life. Or simply the mating instinct that being so near death provokes.

He's here in the library, with Giles who's telling him to go; who's in the affirmation of life camp, it seems. Not quite looking at him as he suggests he may find someone. A nice girl.

The one flaw in Giles's armor catches the light and shines, and he doesn't turn away fast enough to hide the pain in his eyes, and Oz knows: now or never.

"Come with me," Oz says, as he slides a gluestick over pink paper.

And Giles says, "Surely you're not scared to go on your own."

And Oz shakes his head. Waits, and sees the moment the pretense finally falls away.

"Oz, I can't. We can't."

He's speaking of more than just dances.

"Then we won't go," Oz says, and hands him a pink heart, lined with lace.


Saturday morning is their time to sleep. Friday nights are long and hard and they run with blood. Especially this night. Love poems and chocolates and foolish couples caught up in the moment, forgetting the time.

Maybe that's why when they get in, backs still warm from dawn sunlight, they go to the kitchen, instead of bed and couch. Why they brew tea and stand as it steeps, silent and together.

Maybe that's why Giles touches his cheek, fingers like flower petals, and then leans in close and kisses him, as soft as the world is hard.