by Amz

Watching Giles sleep was an involving task. It required a person's full attention, an occasional tilt of the head and a thoughtful expression. Oz had mastered the act and he sat now, in a low cane chair at the foot of their bed, watching.

And strangely calming was the sight of faded blue sheets twisted up around Rupert Giles' middle. The man's upper torso was elevated on a generous amount of pillows. From his position, Oz could see directly into the sleeping face.

Not close enough to reach out and touch the peaceful figure, unless he stood and moved to the side of the older man. But close enough to see ever so slightly, the fluttering of lashes. Close enough to make out the moderate outline of the gentleman in the bed before him, with the help of the straining light of a lamp by his shoulder. Close enough to still be in the same room with this man who'd turned the wolf's thoughts far from bed linen and occupied mattresses to images of past and fearful future. Images such as those the fear of the boy inside so longed to find.

But he was real and there and seated in front of his strange comforter. Oz felt safe and relevant in this room. He had not belonged to a place or to a somebody, or in fact to anything of warmth in such a long time, that he sometimes felt suspicious of its purpose.

He hated and adored the way he felt when encircled by his lover's arms. Vulnerable and cherished. Cherished seemed too strong a word, though. Oz himself would rarely use it, though essentially cherished is what he felt.

It was odd to think that he could be loved again, to be a boyfriend and to be vulnerable. Sometimes it wasn't real and so Oz kept it all in, on the edge where he could watch it.

The feet shifted in front of him and light blue linen rustled. His eyes travelled the length of the body and found squinting eyes adjusting to the light.

One mature arm spread out habitually beside an ageing torso, only to find the empty bed. Rupert found the silhouetted figure by the lamp.

"What are you doing?" Giles mumbled, resting his head back against the pillows.

"Thinking." Oz replied.

"You're always thinking." A hand reached up to smooth away the wrinkles in his forehead. Giles contemplated his glasses on the dresser beside him, but dismissed them with a wave, closed his eyes and instead listened to Oz.

"Lot of people probably wouldn't agree with that." No creaking noises followed the mild comment. Oz remained seated.

Giles sighed. "Well most people don't know you at all, so I fancy you're right. Luckily, however, we don't give a damn about any of them." He yawned through the last words.

Not a peep from Oz.

Giles stroked the empty space beside him half-heartedly. "Come back to bed."

A slow groan from the chair followed a short pause. Giles heard the click of the lamp and soon after, the mattress shifted with Oz's weight.

Their bodies moved together in the darkness and what thoughts still drifted helplessly, would soon be lost to sleep.