You & Me & The Moon
by Glossolalia

In Bariloche, Oz did walkabouts when the full moon hit. He set out with Bill, some water and food in his rucksack, and his sleeping bag rolled up, tied to the top of the rucksack. Bill knew when it was time; he'd ask with little twitches of his head, lifts of the ears, and Oz would tell him "soon".

He still wonders if Bill felt the moon like Oz does, this slow crawl of light and itches through the center of his bones.

Maybe Bill just liked long walks.

Before leaving the village, he always stopped and left something of his with Lilin, a bracelet or the shirt he'd worn the day before, so she could track him if she needed. After that, he and Bill would be off, walking around a mountain or following a streambed. It didn't matter where they went, just that they kept moving. Away from people, until they were exhausted.

He would walk until nightfall, make camp, then walk for a second day. The second night of the full moon is always the strongest, but by then, usually, hopefully, he was tired enough that he could sleep the night through. Bill shared the sleeping bag with him, nestling under Oz's arm and licking his face if Oz made noise while dreaming. The moon pulls out crazy dreams all three nights — all the time, really — but the most insane come on the middle night.

Flying dreams, bastard visions of feasting and howling. Taking down caribou with a pack too large to count, sleeping through blizzards in dens that smell of burnt paper and the cardamom in Giles' aftershave. Eating, fucking, rutting in the snow, beneath ancient pines, sliding into oceans full of sentient, armored fish.

On the third morning, he would break camp and head back the way he came, Bill trotting at his side. That evening, he slept in the first night's camp, and walked another day until it was dusk and he was home.

He never changed. He meditated while he walked, each step a prayer for acceptance, each stick he tossed to Bill a blessing.

Still, he stayed away from the village every full moon. Just in case, and because he needed to keep moving. The pull inside him makes everything sharper — angles, light, sounds and touch. Walking until he dropped kept that pull in check, kept him merely antsy rather than entirely lunatic.

Inside, the pull is a deep ache, bright and unbearably strong. He won't let himself picture a wolf curled up inside him, however, rousing itself, trying to get out. There's no such thing.

This is him, yearning and restless. Antsy, if the ants are fire ants and wasps, droning and pulling.

He can't do walkabouts here in London; maybe he should go to Scotland, or Wales, somewhere Giles used to go hillwalking. For now, he tries to approximate, tries to move constantly to keep the ache at a bearable level. In the morning, he goes to the gym Olivia's boyfriend recommended and buys a day pass for the pool. Oz swims until his legs won't work, until his vision's blurry and burning. Then he walks, shivering inside his layers because his skin still remembers the warmth of Sunnydale. Today he walks over London Bridge, down to St. Paul's, up twisting belfry stairs that make him think of Vertigo and lovers who look like the dead.

He isn't jumping out of his skin. He climbs the stairs with the mala wrapped around his hand, fits his feet into the worn, grooved wood and thanks the universe for his calm. He is calm, but he also feels hollow. Like there's something just ahead of him, just around the corner, always hidden, just out of reach. Something he needs and wants, something pulling him onward.

He knows about tides. The moon, and gravity, and what happens as it draws close and full. Pulling, so much pulling.

He gets home by half-six, and though his legs are sore and complaining, he still takes all three flights of stairs two at a time, the sack from the butcher swinging from his hand. Giles is due back soon — neither of them knows exactly when, because meetings at the Council tend to run long — so Oz showers quickly, scrubbing out the day's chlorine, sweat, and polluted air, before starting dinner.

Being home makes him feel at once reassured and jittery. Reassured, because this is home, snug and familiar, but jittery because he is indoors and he has to come to a stop. His muscles twitch and jump, anxious to keep moving.

He ignores his jitters by starting dinner. He'd rather wait and cook with Giles, and any other day of the month, he would. He's hungry, however, his stomach yawning and twisting, and keeping busy is the idea.

Rosemary gets plucked from the little pot under the kitchen window, and olive oil warms over a very low, steady flame. Oz concentrates on each twig of the herb, snapping it, letting the scent seep out as he swirls the leaves through the oil.

Giles is running late.

Oz briefly considers turning off the stove and heading to the living room. Usually he would — find something to read, put on a record or the radio, and relax.

Tonight, he peels three garlic cloves and slices them with a razor blade. Every moment of concentration strengthens his focus.

He loses track of time doing this, easing the blade through the ivory flesh, each slice sticky and transparent. When the cloves are reduced to a damp pile of slices, he plucks out each bit of rosemary, dark and sodden, from the oil with the kitchen tweezers. Squinting, one eye fully closed, he wonders if he looks like Giles when he's assembling a rotten manuscript, or a pair of monks building a mandala grain by colored grain of sand.

The garlic dissolves in the oil, slowly, giving up its flavor and vanishing. Oz ponders the filets he bought when he hears Giles at the door.

"So sorry," Giles says, hugging Oz from behind, kissing the top of his head. "Stuck underground for a good forty minutes and the meeting itself was late by an hour. I should have taken a taxi."

"It's okay. Here now," Oz says, stirring the oil gently as he leans back into Giles. The presence of Giles' body, solid and chilly from the damp evening air, is more than welcome. It lights a spread of small, sparking fires across Oz's back, needles drawing him back, pulling him closer for more contact. Giles hugs him once, more tightly, then pulls away to shrug off his coat and jacket and unpack his satchel.

This is all normal, just the rhythm of the two of them in the evenings, but Oz's back aches like he lost the top three layers of skin. He lifts each steak into the pan and checks the time while Giles washes up. Ninety seconds on each side for Oz's steak, two and a half minutes for Giles'.

Acknowledgement and calm: this, all of this, is a walkabout meditation as much as any hike up a mountain. One foot in front of the other, one second clicking past the previous, tweezers to herbs and razors to garlic. Concentrate until concentration permeates you, until flavor binds with oil and sizzling blood, blooms dark around flesh.

He serves the steak with steamed carrots dressed with honey and sesame seeds and a salad that Giles tossed. Oz has nothing to resist, because nothing is separate from him. He has hunger and hollowness to acknowledge, and dinner to eat and Giles to talk to.

Giles, who looks tired but bright-eyed, his tie loosened and collar open, exposing the long line of his throat, talking and smiling at him.

"I'm not sure I'll ever grow entirely accustomed to that," Giles says when Oz cuts off the first large piece of steak and bites into it.

A millimeter of crust, herbs and olives, but inside, the steak is beautifully rare. Cool, even, right in the middle. The blood and soft fibers of muscle squeaking in his teeth make him even hungrier. Just a veneer of civilization, of humanity, over pure flesh.

"You like steak," Oz says lightly. His stomach rolls, yawns, demanding more.

"I do," Giles says. "Perhaps not quite as much as you do these days, but this is delicious." His steak is medium-rare and he eats with gusto, though he still doesn't match Oz's hunger. When Giles sets down his silverware and napkin, Oz filches the last piece of steak from Giles' plate and chews it quickly.

They're talking normally, easily, teasingly, and this is all good. This is what being home's about. But, still, even so. Even if this is what Oz wants, he's not sure if it's what he needs. Nor is he sure if what he needs is any good for him.

Oz's stomach is full to bursting, but the meal hasn't filled him. He feels like he's walking past a bakery, smelling the bread, but not stopping to taste any. Still unsatisfied, still getting pulled along through time, everything too sharp. Giles recounts the meeting, a sequel to yesterday's, with new faces but the same questions.

"When a slayer dies, there are always a lot of questions. Strange, when you think about it, since the council expect her to die sooner rather than later."

"But Buffy's alive again," Oz says, clearing the plates, setting out a couple tangerines. He'd been so focused on the steak that he forgot about dessert. "Why all the meetings again?"

"Incidents Committee, oversight of the IC, and some auxiliary departments," Giles says, sitting back, hooking his arm over the back of the chair. "I doubt they even much care that she's alive or not. All the questions deal with her —"

"Death," Oz says and Giles nods as he looks away. "Sorry."

"Perfectly all right." Giles wrenches open one fruit, then the next. His voice is hoarse and there's a moment where the idea of crying seems to shimmer over his face before it vanishes. Disappears like it was never there.

"Depressing as hell," Oz adds.

Giles hands him a section of tangerine. "I don't know how my father did it, to be perfectly honest."

The fruit explodes in Oz's mouth and he sucks it down before he says, "Want to talk about it?"

"No," Giles says. He clears his throat and smiles almost shyly when he realizes Oz is watching him. "That is, not tonight. Probably talked about it more in the last three months than is entirely healthy."

"Sure?" Oz asks. He doesn't want to steamroll over Giles, make the moon out to be more than it is, not when other important — maybe more important — things are going down.

"Very sure. More tangerine?" Against the tablecloth, Giles' hand is dark, long-fingered, and the fruit shines, its juices gleaming. Oz ducks his head, slurps up the fruit, then licks Giles' fingers clean. Distraction, he thinks, but also — hunger. He can't ignore the hunger and Giles' skin tastes sharp, citrus and paper and salt.

"How are you feeling?" Giles asks, hand trailing down Oz's arm when Oz sits back.

"Okay. Little trippy, but okay."

Clasping Oz's hand, Giles looks him over. "Are you sure?"

Can't hide anything from Giles. Don't want to hide from Giles. That's the difference in these three days a month since Oz returned: He wants to move, to wear out the moon with motion and hunger, but he wants to stay still, too, to stay here. "Just, you know, pulling through."

"Do you want to take a walk?" Giles asks. He's smart, he knows that Oz is better at moving than talking it out. He knows there's nothing to talk out.

The weight of Giles' hand is hot and right, so close Oz can taste it. "No," Oz says, coming in closer, touching Giles' chest. His mouth burns with fruit juice and more hunger. "Want to be with you."

"I see —" Giles says. Through the fabric of his shirt, Giles' skin is hot to Oz's fingers as Oz traces the branching ribbons of veins. He moves rapidly, across Giles' chest, down to a nipple, further to the space where his ribs part. Giles inhales sharply — flutter of diaphragm, spike of heat — and buries his face in Oz's shoulder.

Rough hair abrades Oz's cheek, there's a warm ear under his mouth, and Giles shivers harder as he wraps his arms around Oz's waist.

Giles' shirt is silky cotton while his tie is rough silk, dark and subtly striped, and Oz wraps it around his hand, tugs experimentally, and watches as Giles' spine seems to loosen — his head tips back, his throat shines bronze in the overhead light, and Oz tugs harder, pulling him in.

"Yeah," Oz says, tightening his grip, tasting Giles' neck, his tongue tracking down to the shirt collar. Whispers of simple, proprietary urges — mine, gimme, now — twine through him as he pulls Giles' shirt free from the waistband with his free hand. Skin, warm tense skin, suddenly bared, and Oz pushes his hand up as high as it'll go. "Want to be with you."

Breathing heavily, Giles looks at him, his mouth open and smiling. "You're sure, then?"

Oz knows that Giles has had a long day, a long couple days. Going over Buffy's leap, over every decision that might possibly have led to that, being stuck in the stuffy headquarters of the Council, and he's sure Giles must have had flashbacks to Randall's death and more meetings at the Council.

But here he is, rubbing Oz's back, staring at him with wide eyes and flushing cheeks, teasing him. Oz knows they can be too careful. They could stalemate at over-care for each other, too much concern wrapping them like cotton-wool, muffling and dulling. But Giles isn't doing that and Oz grins.

Laughter catches in Oz's throat, doubles back, and he nods before he can speak. "Yeah. Very sure."

Giles is about to say something else, but Oz pulls on the tie again, friction on his palm sparking fiercely out over his body, and crushes their mouths together. Giles kisses back immediately, open mouth and reaching tongue, pulling Oz up onto his lap, letting Oz kiss him. Hard and needy.

He's not an animal. Giles reminds him of that, reassures him. Giles talks to him like he's Oz, teases him, makes it true. Even up here, hands all over Giles, squirming on his lap, the chair creaking, he's Oz and this is what he wants.

Giles kisses him back. Giles tips his head and Oz pulls himself up and kisses down, deep, inside, and Giles starts fumbling at his fly.

Brush of hands over Oz's cock and it's Oz's turn to rear back, heat spinning like barbed wire through him. "Giles —"

Grin going tight and twisting, Giles lifts Oz up, pushes him back against the windowsill and slides off the chair. Giles' hands sweep everywhere, under Oz's shirt, down the back of his thighs, and Oz breathes raggedly through metal and citrus, wanting and needing.

Kneeling there, skimming Oz's pants down his thighs, Giles looks up. "Just like this, anything you want, whatever you need. Just tell me."

Oz would answer, wants to answer, but his legs are bare, pants tangled around his feet, and the air in here is cold where Giles isn't touching him, steamy where he is. Then Giles drops his head forward and all the air in the room tightens to a point right in the center of Oz's chest, then vanishes.

Depths of Giles' mouth, the stretch and lock of his lips, and his hands bruising-hard on Oz's thighs, balls, hips. Everything's moving, Giles' bobbing head, and Oz's hips, and moving fast.

Fast and loud, the sounds of Giles' sucking and Oz's own thundering breath and little grunts that keep stretching longer and longer.

Fast, then faster, as Oz bends his knees and pushes in, down, and Giles is there, murmuring and mumbling sounds that are vestigial, evolutionary dead-ends to words, his face going brick-red and nails biting into Oz's skin, scraping, pulling him in. Oz's hand locks in Giles' hair, pulls his head back, crashes it forward, and the heat and the hunger are melting him, burning him down and away, into Giles.

And it's right, and good, hot and fast and wet; this is what he wants. Close enough. He's closer to that corner, his body and every sensation going tense, sharper, but he's not there yet, even as his skin contracts and his backbone bends and glows and he comes. Jerks of the hip, grunts from Giles, sharp and hard enough that he's shaking when he's done.

Still not there, Oz still wants, still wants Giles and this, and more, and harder. He hooks his hand under Giles' arm, pulls him protesting to his feet and wraps himself around Giles. Giles, still fully-clothed, bending down, kissing him with a mouth full of Oz.

His fingers burn at the tips as he tries to undo the buttons of Giles' shirt and kiss him and free himself from his pants and nudge a knee between Giles' legs and push him back, out of the kitchen, down the hallway, elbow catching the gilt frame on a mirror, Giles breathing sharp tidal sighs into his mouth, rolling together around the doorframe to the bedroom and Giles breaks the kiss, grabs Oz's wrists and holds them at his side.

Oz shakes, too sharp, too separate, and tries to look up at Giles. "Need — need you," he says and Giles shushes and soothes him.

"Right here, Oz, right here —" Giles' face is still flushed, his glasses long gone and eyes bright.

Going up on tiptoe, arms straining against Giles' hold, Oz tries to reach Giles' mouth. "This is okay? I'm —"

"Okay, wonderful, yes," Giles says, pulling Oz in, freeing his hands to roam and tug over Giles' back. Giles' lips slide up Oz's cheek, over to his ear. "Anything, you know that."

There is old guilt and worry, sour tatters tangling around him, about pushing Giles, taking rather than giving, letting need rule over pleasure. Oz gets the last button undone and pushes his hands up Giles' chest, grips tightly, and eases Giles back onto the bed.

"I just —" He's kneeling over Giles, watching his face carefully as he fumbles with thick fingers at Giles' fly. "Want you but different, want —"

"Anything," Giles says again, then arches his back when Oz's hand slips inside his pants. He reaches out blindly, hits Oz's other arm, and pulls Oz down against his chest. "This is you, Oz. You and me. Nothing's different."

"No," Oz whispers against Giles' neck, hand trapped between them, wrapping around Giles' cock, thumb teasing at his foreskin, making Giles twist and clutch him harder.

Nothing is different, not permanently, and Oz just needs to get close, to taste and touch and feel. Giles grasps him by the waist, fingers digging into the rise of his ass, grinding them together.

"Get me ready?" Oz asks, kissing Giles' chin, pushing his ass against Giles' hands, reaching for the lube beside the bed and dropping it next to Giles' leg.

It's all fragments when he feels like this, details dropped out of invisible wholes. He feels Giles' fingers scrape up to the small of his back, sees Giles' eyes squeeze shut, hears the rapid beat of both their hearts. Pulls at Giles' dick, squeezing the shaft until Giles has to open his eyes, tongue sliding over his teeth.

"Is that what you want?"

Oz doesn't know how to answer that. What to say. Shaking, and something in the pit of his stomach yearning, he kisses Giles again and pushes his ass back and bites his lip.

"Because," Giles says slowly, taking up the lube, never dropping eye contact, "I want you. I want you to fuck me —" Giles' voice has always done things to Oz, neural sparking flaming things, and right now is no different. His voice goes slow, gravelly, almost imperious but never cold. "And I think you'd like that, too."

"I —" Breath stops and Oz thrusts against Giles' stomach, thinking of the scars there, silvery webs over skin, over muscle and nerves. Inside Giles, where it's tight and secret, hotter than anything. "Yeah."

Except Giles isn't all that into getting fucked; Oz knows this, and the knowledge is just as real as the stretching, pulling need inside him, the one driving him down to kiss Giles again, suck his tongue into his mouth, work at his lower lip between his teeth.

"Good," Giles says, and it's that voice again, close to Oz's ear, so close it feels like it's almost inside his head. "Want you to, Oz. Want to turn over for you, feel you behind me, want you to fuck me as hard as you can —"

Words are sensations, slicing up Oz's spine, whirling through his head and around his cock, and he can't answer. He doesn't have the words to reply, but he knows how to say yes. Knows to grab Giles' arms and push them over his head, drop his face into the curve of Giles' shoulder and taste sweat and lust steaming out, push harder and stretch his arms as he moves down Giles' chest. Until he's sitting back on his heels and Giles is spread out before him, cock dark and hard against his belly, eyes half-closed, breathing hard through an open mouth. Staying still, waiting and twitching, gasping, when Oz touches him, scrapes a thumbnail down his ribs, tweaks his nipples. Until they're breathing in tandem, rough gasps, and Giles' hips are starting to lift as his legs open wider, and it's the most beautiful thing Oz, right now, when memory is dim and distant, has ever seen.

"Turn over," Oz says, an echo of gravel and command, but it's enough to make Giles arch up into a touch that's only vocal, then bite his cheek and twist around. "Knees, up there. Like that."

The shaking's going fast enough, everything yanking him forward so fast, that it might as well be canceling itself out, trapping Oz in honey and slow amber. He paints lube down Giles' crack with a trembling hand, the other grasping the delicate bow of tendon behind one knee, and he leans forward when he rubs his thumb over Giles' hole. Puckered, like a smock, tight, and he says, "Is that good? Want that?"

Giles lifts his head with effort, neck straining and flushed, and nods. "Yes. More, give me —"

Oz pulls back, slicking up his own cock with light hands, and Giles whimpers, head thudding back into the mattress.

"More," Oz says for him, one hand on his cock, guiding it, rubbing it up and down Giles' crack, spreading him and teasing himself with the heat, the other on Giles' hip, holding him still. "Look so nice like this, like you want it, like you're going to die if I don't —"

"Please," Giles says, muffled but high. "Just, Oz, I —"

Then he squeals when Oz shifts back, hauls him back, bites lightly into the meat of one ass-cheek and drags his tongue over to the crack, to his hole, and laps. Heat here, and sweet-sticky lube, and Giles, all musky and sharp, and this is the hunger Oz can satisfy. He swirls his tongue around, closes his lips around the hole and tugs, worms his tongue a little way inside, then further, as Giles' moans grow longer and higher and he thrusts against the mattress, then into Oz's face.

Giles is cursing, and the words are what Oz would say, what his body is throbbing out like drumbeats — fragments, about fucking and need and pleading — and Oz can't bear it any more. Then he sucks a little longer, tormenting himself and Giles, themselves. Smashing them together, hoping for unity, like if he just does it enough he can share Giles' nervous system.

"Love you," he says, raggedly, too many syllables in there, when he pulls his face away, sweaty and tacky with lube and spit. "So much, Giles, want you, inside —"

He lines up his cock, pulls Giles back up, and pushes too hard. Hard enough that between gasps Giles shouts, but he's inside and Giles is already moving with him, and Oz couldn't stop now if the horsemen rode through the room announcing the apocalypse.

Here, Giles' hips slick with sweat, Oz's hand sliding up the dome his back makes and wrenching back his shoulder, here where he's inside, tension circling and enveloping his cock, pulling him in, Giles thrusting back and whispering more words whenever Oz pushes over that spot. Whispers, or whimpers, Oz is too far gone to know, but they're sharp, high little noises that stud their riotous breathing like stars, glittering, pulling him in, seeking the sound again and again.

Giles pushes up onto his elbows, back twisting, then hips jerking the other way, squeezing down on Oz, looking back at him with a face that Oz has rarely seen. Red, painted with sweat, eyes dark and so wide. Open and stripped; Oz reaches around, takes Giles in hand, and when he first pulls, Giles' eyes close and his head drops.

Around his cock, slick skin keeps tightening, pulling him in and down, sending sheets of heat rocketing through him, and in his hand, Giles' cock is heavy, silken, the foreskin as delicate as something neo-natal. Oz thrusts and pulls, his hips rocking in short, fast jerks, his thumb cupped over the head of Giles' dick.

All the sharp, restless shards of the day are pulling together like filings, pulling and rising, and Oz thinks that if he can just find the right rhythm, make Giles shout and come, then he'll be all right, whole and safe. But he's pushing, grunting, sweat stinging his eyes, and he's only close, never there.

Until Giles rears up, head thrown back, fucking Oz's hand and nearly pushing him out and back, then thrusting forward and coming in several long shakes. Then (now) Oz is here and there all at once, the scent of Giles' come like butter and brine, rising around him as Giles pulls Oz in even deeper, contracting around him and shuddering beneath him.

"Oh, fuck, Giles —" Oz splays over Giles' back, arm wrapped around his waist like a life-buoy, fucking in fast little bursts until Giles twists his head around, finding Oz's forehead, mouthing over it and then Oz comes, into black and red, hot and slick, and Giles holds him, somehow, and he's there.

Breathless and empty, chest heaving and cock aching, but there. Here.

They both mewl when Oz pulls out, oversensitive and half-hard, but then Giles can roll onto his back. He does it carefully, hips lifted and knees locked, mouth tight, and Oz crawls up his chest, lies down even more carefully, supporting most of his weight on his arms.

Air comes painfully into his throat, but Giles is rubbing his back, kissing his face, and Oz kisses back along the wet trail of Giles' hairline.

"Before you ask," Giles says hoarsely, running his hand up and down Oz's back, so lightly it nearly tickles, "that was superb. Remarkable, even."

Oz lifts his head, which seems to have swelled; at least, to have doubled in weight. "Yeah?"

Wearily, Giles smiles and kisses the spot between Oz's eyebrows. "Yes. Shall I swear to it?"

"Nah, believe you," Oz says. Hot waves alternate with arctic-cold winds over him, and he blinks away the bleariness in his eyes. "Kind of went nuts on you there."

Giles squints at him and cups his cheek. "Not on," he says softly. Hoarsely, and Oz realizes he's as worn out as Oz feels. "With, I believe it was."

"With, definitely," Oz says.

"And unlike your sudden fondness for steak tartar," Giles says, combing Oz's hair back, "this is something I might just get used to."

Oz kisses the stubble beginning to sprout along the edge of Giles' jaw, then the soft folds of skin on his neck. He doesn't want anything to become habit, nothing to become so familiar it's taken for granted. The moon induces more than enough regularity in his life.

"Nope —" He stretches, hearing knees and shoulders pop, and reaches for the quilt that has spilled onto the floor. Usually it feels soft as sleep on top of him; right now, it itches and weighs him down. "Don't get used to it."

"An element of surprise, then?"

"Yeah. Like, when you least expect it."

Giles' laughter starts out near-silent, burbling like a river around the next curve in a trail, but the longer Oz looks at him, holding his face impassive, the louder it grows until it bursts out and they're both laughing. Hard, loud laughter, like boulders, rumbling and rolling.

"I'll be on my guard," Giles says between hiccups.

"Stealth ninja topping," Oz says, rolling over, bringing Giles with him. "Whole new thing."

It's not about exhaustion, not any more. Oz lies there, tangled in the quilt, laughing with Giles, the realization hovering just out of reach, waiting for him. It's about diving in, letting the hunger carry him like a current to exactly where he wants to be.

He still hurts all over, and another big steak wouldn't be unwelcome, but for the first time, he doesn't want to move. He's happy staying still. Still, right here.

Even if he's starting to cramp up with laughter.