Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

Something Damn Manly
By Sam
For LindaMarie

He spent all his time with his hands encased in water and the cheapest liquid that they could buy at the market. Washing the dishes was never a major factor until some muggins had to do it, and Xander always figured he was the man for the job. The man. The job.

Until that one night he never cared to talk about. And then he'd been unable to think about anything else, his hips gyrating on stage, his hands slick and smooth against the pole he hadn't been able to let go of, and when they'd pressed money into his pants, he'd been able to see the light. And the car mechanic, and by the time he'd got back to Sunnydale, the moans and cries were a distant memory that only haunted him when his hand was too callused to make the heat go away.

He was good with his hands, and not just in that old traditional way -- his fingers carved out the wood before he picked out a single tool, and he could see the shape of everything coming together. His hands were his work, but it was his hips that made him worry -- that old in and out having lost shape and form in the backend of the year and Xander was pretty certain that by the time he'd hit fifty, both of them would fail him and he'd take up sitting in the chair. He could see it, and it frightened him. And when he turned up at Giles' door, his hand had pressed against the wall for as long as it took him to work out what to say.

"Hi, Giles -- what's it like to be fifty and dead?"

"Hi Giles -- what're ya gonna get for Christmas this year? A walker?"

"Hi Giles..."

Giles looked up at the boy and rubbed his nose, that tight pinching making the world swim into focus and he checked his watch. His robe clung to him against the cold and when he looked around, he saw Xander was alone, was on his own, and lonely this evening. The boy raised an arm in greeting again and nodded behind Giles to the warmth of the house.

"You gonna let me in here or just - leave me stranded in the cold?"

Giles narrowed his eyes. "It's not cold."

Xander frowned at him. "That your polite way of saying skidaddle? You got company?"

"No company." He stepped back and held his arm against the door. "Do come in. I've been so awaiting your visit."

Xander grinned and walked inside, hands shoved deep in his pockets as he looked at the cosiness of the room, enjoying the little twinkling lights he was sure Giles had spent some time arranging just so in order to appear effortlessly seasonal. The tree in the corner had that degree of subtle, and when he tilted his head, he could see the decorations catching the sparkle as the lights changed colour, each one glinting in the dimly lit room.

He sat down on the couch and waited, tapping his knees as Giles sauntered back in. Sauntering - it had its advantages, he decided. Doing things slowly meant you were less likely to drive a nail through your hand, or saw your thumb off. But the sauntering thing looked like the road less travelled. He suspected that Oz knew a thing or two about sauntering, but he'd never shared the trick, and when he'd left, that was the last thing on Xander's mind. Sayonara, Oz - you take your laid back ease with you, and Xander'd never learnt how to be relaxed when your feet seemed to want to run and your arms were doing a fair impression of a caveman. No co-ordination, he knew. Not until he was at work, and then he was just faking the whole thing really well.

Giles sat down next to him, shot glasses of whiskey and when he offered Xander one, the boy decided he was a man and took it. Knocked it back easily and smiled as his throat burned.

"That's good liquor."

"Yes it is." Giles rolled the still filled glass between his fingertips and looked at him. "Is there a reason you're here or were you unable to resist my Christmas cheer?"

Xander cocked his finger at him. "Got it in one, Giles. I was out walking and I saw the lights on in here...and I couldn't resist. I said to myself, 'Xander, where haven't you been at this time of night? And the answer came to me in a flash. I was all - "

"Does this have any kind of point you're in danger of reaching tonight?"

"Uh, yeah. There'd be that kind of..." Xander nodded. "Christmas Cheer. Here. For the cheer."

Giles nodded and knocked the whiskey back. "And we're just full of that."

The perfection of Giles' apartment wasn't a new thing - Xander could recall the countless times he'd seen the man pick up all the books and put them away when the others had left - the countless times he'd stayed back and cracked Jimmy Olsen jokes. The countless times Giles had failed to get the reference and he still tried, still persisted because England couldn't be that remote he wouldn't understand the underdog theory. Whole country seemed to be bred on it, and despite what he'd seen of the council, Xander was certain that if he gave it a try, Giles would appreciate just how much in common they had. How empty Xander's life felt right now and when he looked around, he blinked.

"Kinda noticing a lack of female company here - thought you told Buffy you had Olivia coming over?"

Giles nodded and poured out another glassful. "Unfortunately she made other arrangements."

"Stood you up, huh?"

"Yes, thank you Xander. My life really wouldn't seem as pathetic as it does without you pointing it out."

There was a nod and a gesture to the bottle that Giles only seemed too happy to share. Misery loves company and alcohol, Xander surmised and tried out that rolling the glass trick Giles was enamoured of. Seemed like something to get good at when he rolled into his father's shoes. He could see it now - endless hours in front of the television, glass rolled in his fingers, spilling whiskey on his pants and...


Giles barely glanced up when Xander swiped at his lap, grabbing a handful of tissues and dabbing at the wet patches. He set the glass down on the table and stood up, looking down at his jeans and shaking his head. "I can't believe I did it again."

"If this is a very tired act to take off your trousers and show me those shorts, you can stop there. I don't have the energy for games, Xander."

"It's not a game, I'm genuinely this clumsy."

Giles leaned back on the couch and shifted his view to the now wet jeans. Splashed everywhere and smelling of whiskey - Xander's parents, should they ever pay attention, may well question where he'd got the liquor from, not because they cared about his well-being, but because stashing the family booze was discouraged. And wasting it like this - god forbid - well, Giles was sure he'd hear the shouting all the way over here.

And there were better things to be doing.

"Oh go on then, get them off."

Xander looked back at him. "This isn't a come on, you know that?"

"Isn't it? Shame."

A definite grin for his efforts and Giles smiled back, getting up from his seat the moment before it became uncomfortable. He walked to the tree, reached in without looking and pulled out a simple square box. Dropped it in Xander's lap when the boy sat back down and nodded. "Go on then, Merry Christmas, Xander."

"It's for me."

"Yes, it's for you," Giles encouraged and cleared his throat. "It's Christmas Eve, and we're not expecting Santa Claus to deliver our presents any more."

Xander frowned and looked back at him. "I didn't get you anything."

"How generous."

"Hey, I'm sorry, I just...put my name on Willow's gift. And Buffy's - I'm very generous with my signature."

"I'll be sure to appreciate it."

Xander grinned back at him and started to unwrap the gift, pausing only to look back at his benefactor. "Guess I should wait 'till tomorrow, huh?"

"No, you can open it now."

Wrappers flew everywhere, littering the floor as Xander took out the book and turned it over in his fingers. Pooched out his bottom lip as he read the sleeve and nodded back up to Giles. "It's a good book?"

Giles arched an eyebrow and nodded. "I believe so."

"You haven't read it? I thought you'd read everything?"

"Not when one is giving it as a gift, Xander. Although I believe Mr Hornby's very popular with...young men."


"Xander!" Giles pushed his glasses up and then nodded to the gift again. "So can I assume you won't be spending time reading it?"

Xander shook his head. "I'll read it. I will. Thanks, man. And hey, if it and me don't get along, I can finally balance that shaky chest of drawers."

"How very gracious of you."

Xander stood there with the book for a long moment, grinning more than was necessary and then put the gift down, leaning over to slap Giles on the shoulder and then pecking him on the cheek. They stood still for a long moment afterwards, moisture burning up Giles' skin and when Xander could stop staring at the floor and not blurting out something stupid, he was right back to the fame no money could by.

"Here, I can give you something."

"Much as I'm fond of you, Xander, your Spiderman comics are safe in your hands."

"No, not comics, I...heh, just sit down."

Another out of eyebrow arching, but once Giles was settled back against the couch, Xander shifted his feet a little, stockinged toes crunching into the carpet before he remembered what else he needed. "Can you get some music on here?"

"I'm not sure that I've..."

Xander held his hand up. "I'm trying to set a mood here. I need music. Lots of music. But not enough so we're talking a nice quiet call from the nice neighbourhood cop. No Mr Rogers either."

There was music. Not the loud pounding thrust of the Fabulous Ladies Nightclub, but enough that he could close his eyes and pretend that he was someone else. Someone cooler than this. He tapped his foot on the floor, black covered toes bopping to the music and his hips bouncing as he gave in to beat. Not the world's smoothest mover by a long shot, but as he tugged at his shirt, he heard Giles clearing his throat.

"You're going to rip that."

"If you're lucky."

And then there was just the crackling of the vinyl and Xander's feet padding on the carpet. Xander turning round and around as he took his clothes off and if he tangled his hands in his sleeves, he could cover it with a grin and a wink. And if he got as far as his boxers and his socks, well, it was damn sexy to take them off one at a time. Losing your balance and almost falling into the Christmas tree was less sexy, but he recovered well, and he was sure he could rescue the sock from the top of the Maori statue later on.

He hooked his thumbs into the top of his shorts and leant there against the fire place. This was cool, he was sure - the epitome of it and he refused to let the heat frazzle the backs of his legs. "And I'm done."

Giles applauded slowly, hands slapping against one another as he shook his head. "Interesting finale. I'm impressed."


"Really. And I'd step away from that fire before you burn your legs."

Xander shrugged and stepped forward, batting at his scorched skin and looking back at the couch. "I thought the leaning thing was cool."

"Oh yes."

He stepped closer, his bare knee brushing the hem of Giles' robe.

"And the sock removal?"

"Very elegant. I've never seen anyone hit himself in the face before and recover as well."

Xander slipped those shorts free and kicked them off, barely flinching when they hit the coal scuttle. He touched the collar of Giles' robe and tugged it back, grinning at the play of fairy lights on the white hair beneath.

"And the naked part?"

Giles sighed and leaned up to pull Xander closer. "Personally, it's always been my favorite part of all."

"Except for this one?"

Hands full and not a cold pole in sight. "Except for that one," he agreed and kissed him.