The Great God Robitussin!
by Voracity

"All hail thee, Great God Robitussin," Xander said, his nose clearly stuffed up, as he poured the little measuring cup full of the red liquid. "May the power of your drugs make me feel better." He swallowed it in one gulp, making a face. He turned to find Buffy and Willow snickering as they watched his little ritual. "What? If I don't do it right, then He'll abandon me and I'll never get better." He rinsed out the little plastic cup, putting it and the bottle back into his backpack before going back to the table.

"How do you know Robitussin isn't a Goddess?" Buffy asked, a mischievous little smile coming out to play. "I mean, most healers were, weren't they?"

"Because it's alcohol-laced and not that nice sweet wine that Goddesses seem to favor. No, this is cherry liquor, a man's libation." He grinned then grabbed a tissue to blow his nose before it dripped. "Just give me half an hour and I'll be fine."

Willow covered her mouth as she coughed/snickered to hide it. "At least it isn't Nyquil," she said as she flipped the book closed.

He groaned. "I asked you not to tell them that. Do I really need *more* embarrassment?" She shook her head, still smiling. "Willow," he moaned, "tell me you didn't."

"Just me," Buffy said, grinning now. "And it was a long time ago." She looked up as Giles walked back into the living room. "Want us to head home?"

The former Watcher shook his head. "Not yet, I think. We still need to find the cause of that music." He looked at the teens as he walked out to the table. "What were you talking about? Did you find something?"

"Just drugs and stuff," Buffy covered. "How bad they can be and all." Willow started to giggle again, earning her a hit on her arm from Xander. "Hey, don't abuse her, I'll have to rub the bruise later." She hit his arm, making him wince. "So, how long have you been conversing with the God Robitussin?"

Giles shook his head. "Please tell me that's not something that we've found." The younger man shook his head. "Thank you, I really didn't want to deal with a God tonight."

Buffy joined Willow rolling around on the floor giggling but Xander just gave them a dirty look before explaining. "I've got a cold and I'm taking Robitussin and I'm convinced that if I call on him as a God, it'll work better. Just like that book that said if you believe strongly enough it's there for you." Giles just patted his shoulder as he too started to chuckle. "Come on guys, don't do that. It'll wear down His effectiveness." When they didn't stop he picked up his jacket and grabbed his bag, walking out with a wave over his shoulder.

Giles sobered quickly. "Maybe we should exclude him until he's feeling better. I'm sure he could use the rest."

"True," Willow said as she got back into her seat. "But give it a day before he's loony again. Then you'll have ample excuses to send him home."

Buffy frowned as she got back into her chair. "How much was he supposed to take anyway? He took a full cup and he's been acting funny all day. Even that short prayer was odd for him." She looked at her Watcher. "He called upon the God Robitussin to help him." The older man nodded solemnly. "And he'd taken some only a few hours ago. Isn't cold medicine supposed to be taken every eight hours?"

"Four to six," Willow reminded her. "And yeah, he takes too much so he feels better faster and he takes it too often so it doesn't wear out." She looked at Giles in alarm, a thought just hitting her. "Maybe we should go make sure he makes it home." She grabbed her jacket and bag, following Buffy out the door.

Giles sighed, putting the books that had been spread out into a pile in the middle of the table. "Xander, when will you learn to take better care of yourself?"


Xander *bounced* through the door, happily smiling at his friend two days later. "Hey," he said, tossing his jacket onto the couch, voice still stuffy sounding. "What's up? Still got the noise thing?" He took his usual place then looked at his watch. "Give me a sec to take my meds and I'll help." He stood up again, walking into the kitchen and pouring out a little cupful of the thick red liquid. He didn't hear Giles walking up behind him but turned to frown when the bottle was taken from his hand so the older man could read the label. "It's time," he defended, drinking it quickly before it could be taken from him too.

"I'm sure it is, but that's much too much medicine for you." He took the little cup, looking at the lines, pointing one out with his thumbnail. "See this line? You're supposed to fill it to there, not to the brim." He handed the cup back but kept the bottle. "Go sit down, Xander, and let's get back to work." He walked out, expecting to be followed. When he turned around, he saw his student looking mournfully at the bottle. "Come sit," he called again. This time he was followed, the younger man looking up at him occasionally like a beaten puppy. He heard the first quiet cough almost an hour later.

Xander pulled a tissue out of his pocket and coughed into it, balling it up immediately and trying to make a basket with it. He ended up getting up to throw it away after his shot missed by almost a foot. "Ones with lotion don't fly that well," he told the older man. He glanced at his watch. "Where are the girls?"

"They'll be here after class." Giles got up, going into the kitchen to get himself some juice from the refrigerator. By the time he turned around, the younger man was putting a bottle back into his jacket. "You have a second?" he asked softly. He walked over, taking the jacket to search it. "You really must be more careful with the medicines you take, Xander, it could harm you very badly if you take too much." He confiscated the second bottle, bringing it into the kitchen to live with the first. Then he walked back to the table under the hurt stare. "No," he said simply. He sat back down, handing over his unopened bottle of juice. "Drink this, it'll do you good." He turned the page on his book, going back to his studies.

Xander sipped at the juice, holding in his sniffles.

It was almost three hours later when he got up, going into the kitchen for his bottles. The quiet "Don't even think about taking more," was ignored as he poured out some more, gulping it quickly before the restraining hands could take it from him. "I'm feeling better," he said, much more stuffed-up sounding now. He walked back to the table, grinning at Willow. "You know, your hair looks like flames today." He slid down into his seat, pulling a book over to look at. He shrugged the hand off his forehead with a simple, "I'm *fine*, Will," and got back down to work.


Giles looked at the two young women at his table, frowning. "How long is he usually like this?" The person he was asking about had left earlier for the evening so he could go back to bed for a while. "And how long do I have to hold the extra bottle of medicine before it's safe?"

Willow snorted. "Forever and until he's better. Not in that order." She put down her book. "Just wait."

"At least it's not Nyquil," Buffy reminded her friend. "No dancing." She looked up to see a confused look on the older man's face. "Let Will tell you, I wasn't here then. I've only heard it secondhand."

Willow coughed lightly. "I promised not to tell." That got her a hard stare from the older man. "Oh, all right, you made me though if he asks. When we were in seventh grade, he took some Nyquil, a normal dose even. He ended up dancing naked down the halls, kissing quite a few people." Buffy started to chuckle lightly. "That's when all those rumors started about him being gay. Then he kissed a teacher, and she ended up in the bathroom crying for all she hadn't had yet." She shrugged. "Not a really big bad but a little one. That's why everyone thinks he's gay." She spread her hands out in an 'I don't know' gesture before going back to her book.

"The way I heard it, he made a lot of people question their own sexuality that day," Buffy said. She got a hurt look from Willow. "Cordy told me when I first came, right after he helped me pick up my bag that I'd dropped, as a warning." She wiggled her eyebrows. "I heard it was quite a sight."

"For the hour it took them to catch him," Willow agreed.

Giles coughed, faintly flushed. "I see." He rubbed his forehead. "I'll remember not to let him near any of that then." He looked at the books littering his table. "One of you should probably go check on him."

"Well, we could then go hit the movies," Buffy said, slamming her book closed. "Lots more fun than trying to figure out why no one's playing carnival music at the top of speaker range in the park." She looked at her roomie and friend. "Want to go visit his basement?" She got a small nod so got their jackets, handing Willow's over. "We'll call from there if there's a problem." She slipped into her jacket as they walked out the door.

Giles once again cleaned up after his helpers and former students, sighing at the injustice of life for some of them. His peace was shattered by a knock on his door. He got up to get it, hissing as he saw who had his sick friend, who was giggling madly. "What happened?" he asked the neutered vampire. He took possession of the boy, settling him gently onto the couch.

"He walked up to me, in front of others no less, and kissed me!" Spike paced around the small living room. "Said it was his sacrifice to some God or another named Robitussin." He frowned at the former Watcher. "What are you making him do? The boy's mad, absolutely gone around the bend." He put his hands on his hips, waiting for a reasonable excuse to be given.

"He's taken too much cold medicine, I'm afraid. I tried to stop him but he's probably taken more since he left." He frowned at the snoring man on his couch then shook his head. "I'm sorry that he embarrassed you but just think about this, you kept him from harm."

"Not really, more of keeping myself from harm. He was about to undress me. Had my belt undone, telling me how soft it would feel against his bum." Spike ran a hand through his bleached hair. "Just keep him here. I'm sure you don't want him to come molest me again." He stormed out of the apartment, slamming the door.

Giles closed his eyes tightly, wishing that he hadn't heard that last part. He tugged off the tight black sneakers and the worn jacket, confiscating the half-empty bottle he found in the pocket. "We're going to be having a long discussion young man," he told Xander before he walked into his bathroom. He started his shower, more than ready to relax under the hot water.

He had just finished washing his face when the curtain opened. He wiped the water out of his eyes, trying to turn around to see who it was but was stopped by the extremely warm body resting against his stomach. He looked down to see Xander sliding around his legs, nuzzling his lower stomach and whispering gibberish into it. He snorted, then shut off the water, backing away from him. He managed to get out of the tub, and away from the suction cup-like hands, and get a towel wrapped around his waist before the young man followed him. Lot of good the towel did him since it went flying and his dick was swallowed immediately. He hissed, pulling the head off him and pushing him onto the floor. He ran for his robe, coming back to find Xander still talking to the floor, now kissing it and telling it how pretty it was. He lifted the young man up, carrying him back to the couch to lay him back down on it. He covered him with a light blanket, watching to make sure he stayed before backing away slowly, heading into his bedroom.


Giles woke up very comfortable. He was slightly warmer than usual but it was a nice warmth, the pleasant warmth of a body lying next to his. He groaned as he opened his eyes, seeing the dark hair spread out across his shoulder. The head it was attached to was snuggled against the side of his chest, wheezing. He sat up, looking down at the younger man. "Xander," he said softly. He got a long blink for a look. "Let me go get you some medicine then you can go back to sleep."

Giles slid out of the bed, heading for the kitchen. He made it all the way there before figuring out he wasn't wearing what he had been when he had went to sleep. He looked down at his uncovered lower half and sighed, tugging his sleep shirt lower. He grabbed the bottle off the shelf, pouring the right amount into the measuring cup to carry back to the sick young man. He could talk to him later about his behavior. He nudged the sniffling body, handing over the cup and watching as the medicine was taken. "Would you like some Tylenol also? It might make you feel a bit better."

"Roto-rooter for my nose," was muttered before the heavy quilt was pulled over the hurting head.

Giles smiled at his friend, grabbing some clothes to go dress in the bathroom. Before he did so, he looked in the full-length mirror, wincing at the bruise on his stomach. He slid into his jeans and shirt, buttoning it as he walked out to answer the door. Willow was standing on the other side, bouncing from foot to foot. "He's in my bed," he said, waving her in.

She hurried to the bedroom, checking her best friend over. She squealed as she was grabbed, trying to get away from the hands tickling her. She was saved by Giles, hiding behind him. "Is he gonna be okay? He's not been this sick for a while." She looked up under his arm, begging silently for good news.

"He'll be fine," he told her. "He took well over the prescribed dosage last night and Spike brought him here. It seems he walked up to him and ..." He cleared his throat. "He was acting very strangely so was brought here before he could be eaten." She nodded. "Has this happened before?"

"Every time he gets really sick. Then he gets all gropey and cuddly and I deal." She stepped back, shrugging. "Not my thing but it's him." She looked around the room. "Want me to take him home or back to the dorm for a few hours?"

Giles shook his head. "I don't want him to be alone for a while, there's no telling how much trouble he might get into." He looked back at the lump on the bed. "I'll let him stay here for a while longer and send him home tonight." She nodded, escaping without another word. "Xander," he said softly, "why do you do this to yourself?" He smoothed out a wrinkle on the quilt before heading out to make himself some breakfast.


Giles looked up from his reading to see the silent young man in the kitchen pouring himself some medicine. "Take the right amount or go home," he said quietly. The cupful was taken and the young man walked over to grab his jacket, sliding the bottles into his pockets. Giles barely stopped him from walking out the door, turning him around to sit him down on the couch. "Why do you take so much?"

"Because I feel better that way," Xander said, looking up. He frowned. "Why did I end up here? I know I went to bed at home."

"You wandered into the park and tried to molest Spike." He noticed the sudden pallor, brushing a hand across the sweaty forehead. "Go take a shower then get back into my bed. I'll let you sleep here for a bit longer." The younger man shook his head. "Yes, now scoot before I have to get authoritative." Xander's slumped form walked back toward the bathroom, taking advantage of his generosity. He heard the shower come on, not listening beyond waiting for a 'thump' from a falling body. When he didn't hear one, he went back to his studies, getting immersed in them again until a warm head landed on his leg.

Giles looked down at the closed eyes, brushing his hand through the damp hair. "Still not feeling well?" He got a small head shake for a reply. "Would you like that Tylenol now?" Another head shake. "What would make you feel better?"

"Big vacuum," Xander said, still stuffed up and funny sounding. "Want my sinuses sucked out." He looked up. "Head rubs?" he begged, giving him big eyes and everything. He sighed as the cool hand found its way into his hair, combing the strands lightly. He closed his eyes, enjoying it.

The older man shook his head, smiling just a little, putting his book on the table so he could continue both activities. It was a few hours later when he looked down at the moving head, frowning at where it was headed. He stood up, pulling the younger man up and walking him over to the couch, laying him down on it. He covered him with the throw off the back and stood there, watching the younger man sleep and suck on the hem of the blanket. He walked back over to the table, closing his book, then into the kitchen to put on some water for tea. He turned to get a cup, running into a firm body that had been trying to hug him. "Xander," he said softly, wanting him to wake up again. "Come on, none of that." He pulled the kettle off the burner, turning it off so he could walk the younger man back to the couch. "Come on then, let's nap shall we?" He got pushed down onto the couch, the overly warm head snuggling down into his chest with a small nip to his Adam's apple. Giles sighed in frustration, not able to move now but he made the best of it, grabbing a nearby magazine to read while he waited for the usually kinetic body to get over the need to cuddle.


Giles opened his eyes as he felt someone leaning over him. He started when he saw it was Willow, frowning at her. She shook her head, handing over a bottle of water with a quiet, "Buffy let me in." She handed him the bottle of cough medicine and one of Children's Tylenol, quieting him with a finger to his lips. "Xander," she whispered near his ear. "Time for drugs. I even got you the nice Tylenol you like." He opened an eye, taking the medicine and swallowing it. His eyes closed again, his head trying to burrow deeper into the older man's chest again.

"Xander," Giles said. "It's time for you to go to bed. I need to get up." The body moved off him with an embarrassed flush and headed for the bathroom, but he got frowned at for it. "What?" he asked Willow.

"He needs to feel another person with him. He's always been like this when he's sick." She walked back to the bathroom, tapping at the door. "Hey, want to come sleep in my bed tonight?" she called through the door.

Xander opened the door to frown at her. He shook his head, kissing her cheek before walking out to get his jacket and leave. He was caught at the door, pushed back inside by Buffy. He frowned at her, opening his mouth to talk but nothing would come out. He grabbed his throat, wincing.

She nodded, patting his arm as she led him back to the sofa, sitting down and pulling his head down to rest on her shoulder. She frowned at her former Watcher. "You need to take better care of him. He *needs* to cuddle now." She looked at Willow. "Did he visit the Goddess Tylenol's temple too? He's awfully hot."

The redhead nodded, sitting on the arm next to them. "He took an adult dose in the Children's because he can't swallow right now." She glanced at Giles. "What did he do to Spike? He stopped us to complain about him last night but didn't tell us why."

"He walked up to him in the park and ... said something to him," Giles covered. "That's why he was brought here." He wiped off his forehead. "Can you keep him long enough for me to take a shower? I didn't get much of a chance to last night." The girls nodded so he headed into the bathroom, closing and locking the door.

Willow looked at Buffy. "You sure we can't bring him with us? I'm sure Giles would like to sleep alone again. He doesn't seem to realize what sort of trust has been placed in him now." The blonde frowned at her. "I know it'll be rough with the three of us but he can sleep on my bed." She reached over to brush some hairs off the damp forehead. "I think he's getting worse instead of better."

"Will, I'm going to be up all night studying for that test. He won't be able to sleep with the light on, he's not you." Buffy grimaced. "Can we send him home if we take him there and stay for the night? Or you until I can go get us some clothes and stuff?" Willow frowned, biting her bottom lip in her thinking way, then shook her head. "Parents?"

"Lack thereof. I don't think I want him home alone tonight and just one of us wouldn't be enough." She looked around the room. "How do we beg him to keep him tonight?"

"We beg," Buffy said simply. "He can't resist the both of us." She looked down to see the confused brown eyes open. "Sleep, Xander, you're fine and safe." He nodded, closing his eyes again.

The girls waited until the older man walked out to join them before telling him what was needed. "But we can't keep him tonight," Willow pleaded. "We'll have our lights on all night while Buffy studies and he'll want to sleep with me." She used all she'd ever learned from her best friend to beg on his behalf. "Just tonight. We can stay with him tomorrow."

Giles nodded, sitting down in his chair. "What should I do? I haven't the faintest clue about what to do for him." He looked at the girls, who just shrugged. "Ah, I see. He's not been this sick before?"

"Not since the Nyquil incident," Willow told him. "And then he was almost hospitalized. My mother took care of him since his was out of town doing something." She frowned at the younger man's head, all she could see since he had burrowed back under the throw. "All I know is that we have to give him Children's Tylenol for his fever and he had to take an adult dosage because he can't swallow pills when he's sick." She ran her fingers through the dark hair, grimacing at the feel of it. "And he needs a shower."

The older man sighed. "I suppose that should fall to me since you shouldn't be bathing him." He got up, heading for the bathroom to run a bath for the younger man. He came back out to two unconscious bodies beside the coffee table and no sick person. He grabbed his jacket, running out into the night to go find him before he could get into trouble.

He found Xander outside of Spike's new crypt, begging the vampire to let him in. He laid a gentle hand on the warm arm, wincing at the heat coming through the t-shirt. "He's ill," he explained, leading the teen away.

"I'd say," Spike called. "He asked me to make him feel better. And that was before he picked up my hand to put on his head." He followed them back to Giles' place, helping him get him inside. "The kid's gonna die if you don't do something quick about his temperature. He's warmer than tea."

Giles nodded, stripping him down and helping Xander into the tub. "I know, but he's had Tylenol and cough medicine." He looked at Spike, frowning. "Why are you here again?" he asked snidely.

"Because you're falling down on the job and the boy thinks I'm his ice pack." He knelt beside the tub, running his cold hands over the fevered head and face. "Calm down, Xander, you'll be fine soon enough." He looked up at Giles. "Well? You gonna bathe him or shall I?"

The former Watcher got down on his knees beside the tub, grabbing a small brush on the way. It was taken from his hand and thrown across the room, the sponge handed to him instead by the vampire. He lathered it up with the soap, working it over the shivering chest. "I think it's that new flu that's going around, not a cold." He picked up a cup, rinsing the lightly haired chest before looking at his helper. He saw where Spike's gaze went, his own eyes drawn to the sight as well, sticking there. "I didn't know he had one of those," he said softly. He slapped the cold hand reaching for the marking, batting it away before it could be touched. "He didn't ask you to do that and it would be wrong." He looked into the blue eyes, frowning. "Don't even think about it."

"It looks new. Maybe that's the cause of his fever." Spike stood up, grimacing at the whimpering as he removed his hand. "I'll go get your bed ready. I'm sure he'd end up here anyway if his past behavior with me is any indication." He walked out of the bathroom, turning the corner to leave the other man's sight.

Giles let himself stare in fascination at the marking for a few more seconds before going back to his duty to clean the young man and get him ready to sleep. He picked him up, sitting him on the warmed towel Spike had brought him to dry him off. "Xander," he said quietly. "Just a few more minutes and you can go to bed, all right?" He got a small nod, making him smile as he slipped the young man into one of his unused t-shirts and boxers. He and the vampire got the teen into his bed, both of them sitting on the edge to watch him sleep. "How do we do this?" he asked, not bothering to wonder why the immortal man was helping them.

"I'd say you sleep and I'll take the morning," Spike told him. He stood up, stretching. "I'm sure the boy could use it."

"He's not that young," Giles reminded him. "About the same age you were when you were turned." That got him a fierce grimace, which he ignored. "Come back in the morning. I'm sure he'd like that." He watched Spike leave then shifted around to lay on top of the covers, petting the head that wiggled onto his stomach. "I had no idea you were like this, Xander," he told the teen. "If I had, I might have not been so mean to you earlier." He looked at the door as Willow walked in. "Better now?"

"Slight headache," she told him, putting a tray down on the bedside table. "Did he go to Spike?" she asked, stepping back from the bed.

"Yes, both that first night and earlier when he knocked you both out." He frowned down at the body trying to invade his lap. "What is with him?"

"He needs it. It's comforting." She turned, walking away. "Call if you need us, Buffy'll be up all night," she called.

Giles heard the front door close as the body managed to invade him and set up as a squatter on his chest.


"All hail the Great God Robitussin, may his power fill me and allow me to heal," Giles heard as he woke up. He headed for the kitchen, watching the younger man take a double dose of medicine and wince.

"Throat still sore," he asked, walking into the small space. He took the bottle, looking at it. "I don't think this is helping. Spike and I think it's the flu."

"What was Spike doing knowing about me being sick," Xander croaked, his voice almost gone. He looked the older man over, shaking his head. "You look bad, Giles. You should go back to bed."

"I will, after I change the bedclothes." He led the younger man over to the couch, sitting him down. "What do you remember?" That got him a pained glance. "I see, and do you remember heading for Spike last night after knocking the girls into the coffee table?" That got him a wince. "Apparently you thought he was an ice pack and you begged him to touch you." The younger man started to cough, bending down to make it easier on himself. Giles handed him a tissue, watching as he spit into it, not liking at all the color of the nasty stuff he'd coughed up. "Do you want to go see a doctor?" That got him a head shake. "I'm sure you'd feel better."

"No cure for the flu," Xander reminded him after he'd caught his breath and was lying on his side. "Can I stay here for a while? Just until I have to go to work?"

"I think you should call off." He got frowned at for his suggestion. "You can't very well make pretzels when you're coughing into the dough, now can you." Giles sat down under the cool feet. "At least your fever seems to have gone during the night."

"What else did I do?" Xander closed his eyes, waiting. He knew what he was like when he was sick.

"You did nothing wrong. You got a bit cuddlesome but nothing else."

"Thanks, Giles." Xander sat back up, wheezing a little before coughing again. He hugged his friend and stood up, looking down at his clothes. "I'll wash them before I bring them back." He headed for the bathroom, closing the door gently.

Giles stood up, walking back into the kitchen to start a light breakfast. Maybe he could convince the young man to stay for a bit more. He turned as he heard the quiet steps. "Would you like some eggs or some toast?" he offered. Xander shook his head as he headed for the door. "Sit and eat something, it'd make you feel better."

"I'm going home to sleep, I'll be fine." He grinned, just a little and obviously faking it. "I'll be back tonight to help research if you want."

"I want you to go to bed and stay there until you get better. You worry me." He walked out to where his former student was standing, hugging him as hard as he dared. "Go to bed, Xander, don't worry about us for a bit." He stepped back, watching him wobble as he was released. "Are you sure you don't want to stay? I'm not sure you should be alone."

"Won't be, Willow will come over eventually." He walked out the door, closing it gently, not at all like his usually did.

Giles vowed then and there to go check on him every few hours. And he had a key now; Xander had given it to him when he'd taken charge of Spike in case something happened. He walked back into the kitchen, saving his food before it overcooked.


Xander looked up at the shimmery thing on his ceiling. "Robitussin, is that you?" he asked it. It seemed to laugh at him so he pulled the sheet up over his head, hiding from whatever it was since he was too sick to fight. He moaned as he was lifted, clutching the sheet harder around himself. The floating feeling stopped and he was back on his bed, with a big wet spot under his back. He grimaced, getting up to take the sheet off, falling over as he reached across the bed to tug the far corner off. He closed his eyes, resting them for a second.

That was how Giles found the young man, asleep across the end of the bed. He picked him up, carrying him out to his old car and settling him gently into the passenger's seat. The older man went back to make sure the doors were locked then got into his car to drive them over to his apartment. He got the young man inside, laying him on the couch and covering him, then going back to lock his car and the front door.

By the time he got back, his couch was empty, the teen lying on the linoleum of the kitchen trying to get cooler in his fevered state. He walked in to check on him, dropping a blanket over the still body for convenience. Giles grabbed a bottle of juice from his fridge, sipping it while watching over the still body. "Xander," he sighed, "why do you do this to yourself?"

"Because he's a twat," said a similarly accented voice from behind him. The former Watcher spun around, glaring at Spike. "Well, he is," the vampire defended. "The boy needs a keeper."

"Of his medicine certainly," Giles agreed. He looked back down at the young man, watching him try to pull off his shirt. "Do you think we should put him into a cool bath? I know that's what my mother used to do for me." He grabbed the shirt, pulling it off the young man, smiling slightly as Xander sighed and snuggled down onto the floor again.

Spike walked around, snorting at the boy. "I'm sure he's comfortable there." He looked at the older mortal. "How about you? Are you going to be comfortable with this? I noticed he got a little, shall we say, impertinent, when I stopped by this morning?"

"Yes, well, we'll be fine. Go home." He finished off his juice, tossing the bottle away. Then he picked up the young man, carrying him back to the couch and laying him down. "Stay there this time," he told the now wiggling body. "Oh no you don't. Stay."

Xander barked, grinning but not really waking up.

Spike snorted, breaking down into the laughter he had tried to hold in.

Giles just shook his head and covered the young man with the throw again, watching as he kicked it off. "A bit warm, are we?" Xander barked again, wiggling his hips this time. "Oh, stop it. You're not a dog. Even I know that you're not a dog."

"Kitten," Xander said softly, smiling. He rolled over, or tried to, ending up on the floor. "Kitty," he said again, in a singsong, snuffly way. "Nice kitty." He started to pet the back of his head.

Spike rolled onto the floor, laughing so hard he was grabbing his sides. Giles decided to do something about him, walking over to kick the vampire. His foot was grabbed at the last second and he ended up on top of Spike, grimacing at him. "Stop it," he said as he got up, or tried to. He turned his head to see Xander lying across his back, licking his spine through his shirt. "You too, stop it." He pulled the younger man off him, setting him on the carpet before getting up and pointing at the door. "I have it, you can go now."

"Oh, but Ripper, I'd not miss this for the world." Spike smiled up at him, reaching over to pet the younger man, trying to scratch him behind the ear. Unfortunately his hand was stepped on, the breaking bones loud in the quiet apartment. "That was mean," he pouted.

"So am I, now out," Giles said firmly. He bent down to pick Xander up again but ended up being pulled back down. "Would you please just let me get you back to the couch?" he said, a little loudly, in frustration.

Xander pouted but got onto his hands and knees, crawling over to the couch. "Big, grumpy meany," he told the throw when it wouldn't cooperate and be cuddled. "You're not a good bear at all."

Giles rolled his eyes, getting up to walk over to the young man. "Xander, are you awake?" he asked loudly. He got a head shake in response and the throw was pulled up over the hurting head. "I see. Would you like some ice cream? I have chocolate mint chip if you'd like some."

"Blech. Bad for you," drifted out from under the throw. "Want good bear."

"I don't think he's all there," Spike said, getting up to look over the back of the couch, cradling his injured hand. "Either that or he's talking in his sleep."

"I'm sure Willow would know, but she and her witch friend are out in the park today to work on some things." The older human rubbed his forehead. "Go start a bath for him then leave us alone." He glared until the order was followed, waiting until they were alone to bend down to talk directly into the younger man's ear. "Xander, I know you're in there somewhere. You'll have to wake up eventually and when you do, I'm sure you'll not want to hear about all this." He stood back up, taking the throw, much to the protest of the boy, and picked him up to walk him into the bathroom.

He got the young man stripped and sat him down into the water after checking it with his hand, watching the unenthusiastic splashing of the bubbles the vampire had thoughtfully put in for him. Giles picked up the cup, filling it with the sudsy water and pouring it down the lightly haired chest.

"Stop, tickles," Xander said, batting the cup away. He curled up on this side, lying down and snoring. "Night," he sighed in between sounds.

Giles shook his head, moving away from the tub to watch the young man sleep.


Xander woke up, kinda, and looked around. He noticed the really fuzzy bathroom looking place and that there was someone watching him but that was about all he could see. He got out of the cold tub, grabbing onto its solid side to hold him steady as he slowly threw his legs over the lip and onto the floor. When he was done, he padded over to the body, curling up on its lap, snuggling down in to be comforted. Maybe his headache would go away now.

Giles woke up when he heard the splashing, watching the young man get out cautiously. He waited to get up, wanting to see what had gotten the teen up, and was unfortunately jumped on by the wet body. He didn't try to push Xander off, just waited to see what he would do this time.

"Just want a hug," he whined, holding on tighter.

"I know you do, Xander, and you can have one once we get you dried off and dressed, all right?" Giles said softly. "But first we need to get you clean." He got them up, heading back to the shower. He thought about how to do this then decided to strip down to his boxers and get into the shower with him. He started the water, testing it with his free hand, then helped Xander into the shower, stripping quickly to join him. He picked up the bottle, smelling the shampoo. "I think you'll like this stuff. It's part of what Buffy gave me for Christmas," he told him as he ran his fingers through the dark hair. He lathered it quietly, watching the young man for any clue that he was about to fall over. When he was done, he rinsed the shampoo out carefully, making sure not to get any in the younger man's eyes.

Xander was really just a big purring mass by the time he was done, leaning into his body with a big smile on his face. Giles looked at the bar of soap then at the firm young body and shook his head. "Here's the soap, I'll let you do that part yourself." He steadied him while he ran the bar around his chest, noting the huge frown. He tried to hold the body up when it started to go limp, he really did, but he ended up letting him sit on the floor of the tub, reaching around him to turn off the shower part. "Xander," he said softly, touching a shoulder. He smiled as the automatic response was the overly warm body snuggling into his side. "Wouldn't you like to finish your washing up? I'm sure you'd feel better." He dodged the thrown bar of soap. "Didn't like that brand?"

"Too hard. Like soft soap. Feels all silky and soft." He rubbed his head against the hairy stomach he was leaning against. "Make it softer?"

Giles looked around then grabbed the soft brush and the soap, rubbing it over the bristles. He picked up an arm, stroking down it, smiling at the pleased hums and coughs he was getting. "Like this then?"

"Very liked," he sighed, leaning harder into the body. He made protesting noises when he was stood back up, but turned into the body again, hugging him tightly. "I'm sorry you have to do this."

"Sshh, I don't mind. You'll ill and you need someone." The older man turned on the shower with his toes, wincing as the initially cold water hit them. He brushed down the firm back, rinsing it off then turned the younger man around to rinse his front. "There, all better."

"Na-uh. Still got spots."

"No, you don't," Giles said firmly. "I'm not cleaning you there." He reached around to turn off the water then got them both out, drying them off with the same towel. He got the teen into a pair of his boxers and a t-shirt, putting him into his bed and covering him. He placed a gentle kiss on the warm forehead before going for his own clothes. He had just finished dressing when the doorbell rang, checking on the boy as he walked past to answer it. "Willow," he said, relieved almost. "How long can you stay?"

"Not long," she said, very stuffy herself now. She walked in, hugging him. "I just came to check on him." She sniffled, pulling a tissue out of her pocket to blow her nose. "Hate being sick." She walked around him, heading for the bathroom.

Giles walked into the kitchen, pulling out two bottles of juice, handing her hers when she walked back out. "He's in my bed and he's asleep again." He looked her over. "If you could stay for a few hours, it'd be most appreciated. I need to do laundry and get groceries." She nodded, walking back toward the bedroom. He sighed in relief, grabbing his wallet, keys, bag of dirty clothes, and shoes before going out to his car.


Giles walked back into his apartment, carrying the last package he'd gotten earlier. He set it on the table then went to look for the two sick people, finding them cuddled together on the bed. He felt an irrational stab of jealousy, trying hard to tamp it down before it came to a full head. Why should he be jealous? Willow was on top of the covers. Xander wasn't. As a matter of fact, the boy had just called her by *his* name. At that small sound, the jealousy left him, becoming pride with his good work, even if he didn't have a cause to be jealous. It wasn't like the boy was his.

He turned, walking back out into the kitchen to put everything up. He was proud of himself, he didn't even start when the warm body plastered itself to his back. "Morning, Xander," he said softly. "Would you like some juice? I've got orange, cranberry, and apple." He got a kiss between his shoulder blades, making his toes curl in pleasure. "Juice?" he repeated.

"Drugs," the younger man said. He wrapped his arms around the firm stomach, rubbing his cheek on the soft material. "Where'd you go?"

"To do some laundry so you'd have clean sheets and to get you some juice and things." Giles turned around, brushing through the dark hair. "How are you feeling?"

"Like crap. Drugs?" he pleaded.

The older man tested his forehead, finding it still too warm, so reached for the bottles. And, truth be told, Xander did sound worse now. He poured out the right amount of the liquids, handing the little measuring cups over and watching as they were swallowed with a grimace. "Throat still sore?"

"Very," Xander croaked, leaning back into the nice body. "Can I do this?"

"Yes you may, just give me a minute and you can be hugged all you want. I still have a few things to put up and to let Willow go home." He unwrapped the arms, leading him out to the couch and settling him on it. "I'll be right back, you rest for a few more minutes." When he got a nod, he walked back into the bedroom, nudging Willow's shoulder lightly. "Time for you to get up, dear. I'm back." She looked up at him, blinking. "Should I call someone to drive you home?" She nodded so he called her room, hoping Buffy was home. He smiled as a deeper, male voice answered. He had always liked Riley for some reason. "Willow's here and she needs a ride home. Her cold seems to have gotten worse." He hung up, smiling down at her. "Riley will be over in a few minutes. You rest, Willow." She nodded, closing her eyes, so he walked back out to the living room.

He lifted the limp feet, getting under them and pulling the throw down to cover them. "How are you feeling, Xander?" One eye appeared above the throw, very cloudy and not completely sure that he was real by the look he got. "It'll be over soon, just relax." He stroked over the foot he held, soothing him with the small touches.

Giles looked over his shoulder as Buffy and Riley walked in, motioning his former charge over. "She's sounding like he did a few days ago. Very congested and weak." The blonde nodded, looking down at the person laying on him. "He's not feeling better either. How are you feeling?"

"Not great," she croaked. "Hate being sick."

"Told you to take that shot, but no, you didn't want to listen. Slayer healing and all that," Riley said, heading back where the older man had pointed. He came back carrying Willow, taking her outside.

Buffy rested her head on Giles' shoulder. "Is he gonna live?" He gave her a 'not amused' look. "Well, if he is then we will and it gives hope." She stood up, resting against Riley's shoulder. "I'm going to go curl up on bed. Call if you find some sort of magical cure."

Riley rolled his eyes. "If you need anything, call me. I'll be with them most of the time." He walked Buffy out, closing the door behind them.

"I'm sure you will," Giles told the door. He looked down at the body trying to pull away, letting go of the foot he held to see what he would do. Xander turned around, laying his head in his lap, nose to his stomach, trying to burrow down into it. "None of that now, you can't get inside me." He brushed his fingers through the dark hair, sighing at the soft feel. "What did I do to deserve this?" he asked himself.

"You were good."

"Yes, I guess I was." He looked down to see the open eyes. "Back with the living?"

"No." Xander closed his eyes. "Make the world not spinny?"

"Of course, just go back to sleep and it'll stop that horrid spinning." The confused looking eyes closed, hiding their depths from him, and a gentle snoring started again. "That's the way, Xander. Soon you'll be better and forget I exist again."


Giles sighed in frustration as he put the sick boy into bed for the third time in under an hour, tucking the sheets around him this time so he couldn't come out to attack him again. He stepped back, surveying his handiwork as he tucked back in his shirt and rebuttoned his jeans. "There. Now stay there and rest, Xander. I mean it." He turned, not listening to the pitiful whining noises coming from the sore throat. He sat back down at his table, ignoring the chuckling from the couch. "Shut up, Spike, I don't want to hear your hole flapping." He took a bite of his meat, chewing slowly.

Xander wandered back out, sliding to his knees in front of the vampire, nuzzling his head on the cool lap. "Good bear," he told the legs. "And very good bears get cuddled." He crawled up into the waiting arms, ignoring the growl from both of the older men. He licked over the cold neck, resting his head on the firm shoulder as his eyes closed. "Night bear."

Spike looked over his shoulder to see an enraged Giles glaring at him. "Don't give me that look! It's not like I offered or anything." The invading fingers shut his mouth.

The former Watcher came over, grabbing the teen off the vampire's lap, carrying him back into the bedroom. "You won't do that again, Xander, do you hear me?" He got small pitiful sounding noises as a hand clawed at his stomach. "No, you need to rest, not molest Spike. Now sleep for me." His voice gentled with the last sentence, going down to how he'd talk to a lover. "Sleep now and I'll be in the next room and we'll all be fine soon." He ran his fingertips over the warm face, touching him lightly. "Rest, and we'll all be better soon."

"I'm surprised he doesn't answer to the name Pet," Spike quipped from the door, dodging the thrown statue. "Sorry, I'll be going for a bit then." He turned, walking away.

Giles looked down at the man on the bed, smiling now. "You didn't have to protect me but thank you." He backed out of the room, closing the door most of the way to give him some privacy. He walked out to find Riley poking at his food in disgust. "It was warm a while ago, just had to put Xander back in bed again." He took the plate, popping it into the microwave. "What can I do for you?" He looked over the camouflaged body. "Or do you need my help?"

"Only if you can really control Buffy." The young man grimaced. "She's crawled into bed with Willow. Of course, I had to have her sedated to do that, but I'm sure you know what she's like." He ran a hand through his hair. "She insisted on trying to go on patrol tonight. Couldn't walk but wanted to go hunt." He heard the quiet sigh and raised an eyebrow.

"It's been pounded into her that it's her duty and all that," the older man said as he pulled his plate out. He watched a familiar body sneak across the doorway. "Riley, do watch out. He's apparently a bit cuddlesome when he's sick."

The Commando backed away from the body. "Then I won't hurt him because he's sick." He patted the warm head when it tried to hug him. "He's got a fever."

"I know, we've given him things for it but it's not working." Giles sat back down at the table, patting his leg. Xander grinned, laying down on his leg, mouth breathing into his stomach, inhaling the warm scent of his body. "As you can tell, I've learned how to deal with this." He took a bite, quickly swallowing the very warm food. "As for Buffy, saying that you'll do it for her might be the only course of action. I'm afraid it's my fault that she's so focused on her calling but it is what's necessary." He blew on the next bite before taking it. "I wish I could help you more, but as you can see, I have my hands full." He waved a hand at the dark head in his lap.

"That's okay. I already told her I'd go out for her tonight." Riley shrugged. "How long has he been sick?"

"Five days that I know about definitely. Three here so far, counting the day he partially spent at home talking to his light." He grimaced, looking down as he felt a breeze across his formerly covered flesh. "I could call Spike back here to help you but otherwise I'm afraid you're on your own."

"Hostile seventeen? No thanks. Saw him on the way in and he grabbed his head as we walked past each other. Apparently he's having violent thoughts about me." Riley picked up his weapon and turned to head for the door. "Call me if you need me and I'll bring over those two to be sick with him. Give you a small break." He closed the door behind himself.

Giles looked down at the head licking his stomach. "Xander, that was most embarrassing. I wish you wouldn't do that." He stroked through the hair, soothing the boy. "You have no need to repay me by licking me. I can bathe myself."

"Good bear," Xander said, trying to move his mouth down farther. It was forced back, making him whine. "Please?"

"No, most certainly not. Not until you're feeling better and I know it's what you want." Giles stroked through the dark hair, soothing him with what seemed to be his favorite activity and took another bite of his meal.


The next thing, as far as Xander knew when he woke up, he was in Giles' apartment, looking up at a familiar ceiling and the shimmery thing was gone. He looked around in confusion. "Giles?" he called, grabbing his throat when almost no sound came out. The older man walked in carrying a large glass of juice so he mouthed the words, "Those things came back for my voice?"

Giles shook his head as he sat on the side of the bed. "No, the Gentlemen didn't come back, Xander, you've just worn yourself hoarse from yelling for the Great Gods to come heal you." He brushed a gross strand of hair off the sweaty forehead. "Your fever broke last night." He took a deep breath. "It's Saturday."

Xander sat up in the bed, looking for his watch. It was handed to him, making him frown. "I slept for three days?" he mumbled. He looked up to see a slight smile, making him groan and grab his throat in pain. The juice was handed to him and he drank it quickly, wincing at the initial burn as it slid down his very sore throat.

"No, you weren't always asleep. Sometimes you wandered around the apartment while you were partially asleep, calling for the God Robitussin and Goddess Tylenol to heal you. Sometimes you were trying to curl up on my chest." That brought out a bright blush. "Which I didn't mind once Willow explained to me that it was comforting to you." He took the glass back, setting it aside. "Go take a shower, I had some clothes brought over for you." He stood up, getting out of the way, watching the younger man head for the bathroom. "I'll not tell you the rest," he said softly, "no one deserves to have that sort of embarrassment." He took the glass out to the kitchen, washing it in the hottest water he could draw.

Xander leaned against the bathroom door, frowning at himself. "What did I do?" he asked himself, closing his eyes to remember. Flashes of him trying to attack Giles and Spike came back, making him wince when he tried to swallow. He started the shower, stepping under the hot spray when it was the desired temperature, letting it open his clogged sinuses. He coughed up a big chunk of stuff, spitting it down the drain while trying to be quiet.

If he was lucky he could escape and go home to hide until this was all forgotten by everyone. It might take him a week or so, but he could do it if he tried really hard.


Giles looked around his apartment as he walked back in, smiling at the peace and serenity that had returned since his student had returned home a few days earlier. He dropped his tie on the table, walking over to look at his answering machine. When he saw he had a message, he pushed the play button, frowning when he heard the still hoarse voice telling him that he wouldn't be there again that night, making up an excuse about work when the placed closed at six. He grabbed a bottle of water, sitting down to figure out what he needed to do to ease the young man back to his side.


Xander looked up from his self-medicating when the bottle was taken from his hand and tossed across the room. "Hey, I was about to worship at His altar. He'll get pissed and it won't work anymore." He drew in a deep sniff through his nose, sucking up all the moisture in it. "What?" he asked, still stuffy, as he lay down to look at his mentor and friend. "I had to work."

"Your place of employment closes at six in the evening," Giles said stiffly. He sat on the edge of the chair. "Would you like to explain why you're ignoring me?"

"I..." The younger man blushed, shaking his head. "I'm not, not really, just giving you time to forget what happened." The flush darkened and he rolled onto his side, facing away from the older man as he coughed up more stuff. "Sorry," he moaned. "Don't want you sick too."

"If I do fall ill, I'm sure I'll manage to not take too much medicine." The younger man rolled over to look at him. "I would suggest from now on you do the same." He stood up, still being stiffly formal. "Good day."

Xander got up, stopping Giles from leaving. "Wait. Hold on. I remember what I did. I'm surprised I'm not in jail and you're pissed because I'm too embarrassed to show up?" He gave him a strange look that the older man didn't recognize. "I thought it'd be decent of me to give you some time to not remember how I forced myself on you." He flinched as a hand was raised to the side of his face. "I deserve it, go ahead."

"I'd not do that and you know it," Giles said quietly, pulling the younger man in for a hug. "It's not that I didn't want it, because I've discovered a new appreciation for you since I took care of you, but you weren't in your right mind. You went up to Spike and told him his belt would feel nice across your rear while you were trying to suck him off." He felt the warm skin against his face get warmer. "And that was the first night. I'm not going to mention the other nights you were down, those three after we had to bring you to the house especially." He pulled back to smile. "If I knew you felt the same way now that you're well, then I'd gladly let you take up where we forced you to leave off."

"I, um, don't remember ..." His eyes closed and he shook his head. "Never mind, I know what I'm like when I'm sick. Did I hurt you too much?"

"Only if you can't face me now, Xander." He turned the younger man's head around to face him again. "Nothing happened that wasn't wanted, I couldn't allow it." He stepped back, letting him go. "Now get your things, you have much research time to make up for." He grimaced as a new bottle of cough syrup was grabbed. "You won't need that, I've found something that should work better." He smiled. "And all those nasty side effects will leave for good." He held out a hand, taking the younger man's when it was hesitantly offered. "When did you get the tattoo?"

"Road trip. Thought it'd be an interesting experience." Xander shuddered. "I felt really close to the guy that did it." He wrapped his jacket tighter around himself. "And the four that held me down so it could be finished." He followed the older man out to his car. "I thought, you know, guys get one all the time in the service to prove that they're men and I'm one so..." He started to cough again, curling up in the seat to make it easier on his pained chest muscles. "Sorry, you should get a flu shot or something to make you not get sick too."

"I've had one, as did you I thought." Giles pulled out onto the main street, heading for his home. "Do you want anything?"

"Surgery to remove the broken door to my sinuses." Xander shook his head as he pulled some tissues out of his pocket to blow his nose. "I didn't get a shot, I feel worse." He blew again, making a loud, disgusting sound. "Last time, I got really miserable so I quit getting them." He looked around for somewhere to put the tissues then put them in his pocket when he couldn't find a trash bag. "What are we searching for?"

"A lost treasure in the area. Don't worry, you can do so from the couch." Giles pulled into his parking spot, getting out of the car and walking around to help his student out. "Come on then, let's get you comfortable." He led him inside, taking the jacket to hang up and settling the younger man on the couch with the throw and a few pillows. "Comfortable?"

"Really comfy, thanks Giles." Xander sniffled then coughed lightly. "Um, cough medicine?" The older man walked into the kitchen, coming back with a mug of steaming liquid. "Not Thera-Flu, right?" The older man shook his head. "Good, I get worse than Nyquil on that." He drank the liquid quickly, grabbing a few tissues to stop his nose from leaking again. He sank lower on the couch, eyes sliding closed almost immediately.

"Good night, Xander," Giles said softly, "sweet dreams and all." He took the tissues and mug back to the kitchen, tossing them away and washing the cup. "Knew Granny's tea would cure it," he told the dishwater quietly.


Xander looked up as his eyes opened, wincing at the bright light looking down at him. "Um, hi," he told it as he tried to sit up. He figured out he was tied down so quit wiggling, just turning his head to cough some so it wouldn't get all over the light. "What's up?" He heard a small giggle, a vaguely Willowish sound but shook it off as his imagination. "Am I dead?" The light wavered, looking like a shaken head. "Okay, so what are you?" He felt warm all of a sudden, a comfortable warm, so closed his eyes to savor it while it lasted. He didn't even realize he fell back into a deep, gentle, healing sleep.

Giles looked at Willow and shook his head. "I remember that state well, but it's a nice place to be." He shooed her out of the apartment, closing the door soundly behind her, turning around when it started to open again to see what she'd forgotten. He ran into Spike, literally, and frowned at the vampire. "Do leave now, thank you," he said, shoving him back out and slamming the door. "None of this for you," he told the door as he walked back to the couch. He replaced the throw over the sick body before going for his bathroom.

When he came back out, he was surprised to find the young man looking at him, sitting up watching for him really. "Good evening," he said, walking over to test the younger man's forehead with his wrist. "How are you feeling, Xander?"

"Better," he said, then grinned because all the stuffiness was gone. "Wow. What was that?"

"My Grandmother's special recipe for the flu. Works almost every time, and the hallucinations aren't that bad." He moved the sock-covered feet to sit at one edge of the couch. "How's your head? Any residual stuffiness or aches?" He got a timid head shake as the body moved closer. "Yes?" he asked.

"I wanted to, um, give you a hug for taking care of me." Xander awkwardly hugged him and retreated quickly to the other end of the sofa. "Thanks and all." He blushed lightly, looking down at his lap.

"What do you remember of the first time you were here?" The flush started to spread over the younger man's entire body, what he could see of it. "I see, and do you remember going up to Spike and asking him to be your ice pack because his, and I quote, chilliness would feel good against your heat?" He smiled slightly. "You told me that I could warm you up but you wanted him to ..." His mouth was covered by a sweaty hand, which he pried off after kissing the palm. "I take it you don't remember all of it then."

Xander shook his head. "I remember wanting to cuddle, even crawling on top of you and being pushy when you moved. I remember," he cleared his throat and blushed harder, "liking you a lot. But I don't remember offering myself to Spike or to you."

"Yes, well, you did more than offer while you were delirious the last time. Or I would assume stripping down and showing him your hole and asking him to chill you from the inside out was part of the fever, not a serious desire on your part." His smile got just a little wicked. "Even if you did describe it as a very 'nummy, tight cherry just waiting to be eaten'." He linked his hands in his lap to cover his reaction to saying that, watching the younger man slide the throw up over his head and groan. "Would you like to talk about it? I'm sure you'll want to know he was just trying to get in to see you. It might help when you tell him you're taken." One eye popped up over the edge of the blanket. "Or am I presuming?" he asked when he saw the internal question.

Xander came out from under the blanket, looking his mentor over. "And if I said you weren't?" He coughed lightly to clear his throat, turning his head. "What if I said that I got that way when I was sick because that's what I was thinking about before?" He looked back at the older man, seeing a gentle and understanding smile. "You're not upset?"

"Xander, come sit beside me." He held up an arm, waiting for it to be filled. When the firm body slid into his, he sighed, holding him close. "I've wanted to do this for quite a while. I'd not have taken care of you if I didn't. I would have insisted Willow and Buffy do so, made up an excuse to force them to. It's not every young man I let sleep in my bed, especially not with me next to him." He got a confused look. "When you were ill, you kept climbing in next to me so I gave up on making you sleep out here for your own safety." He brushed through the dark hair, earning him a sigh and a suddenly relaxed body. "You crave touches?" he asked softly.

The younger man looked up at him, eyes wide. "I'm wanting to make up for when I was younger." He laid his head back down. "I wasn't kidding about... what I told Spike. I am a..." His mouth was covered by a pair of moist lips, worked to distraction, his whole mind falling apart. "Nice," he whispered when he could think again. "Does this mean you like me?"

"Very much, Xander, very much indeed." He tipped the younger man's head up to make him look at him. "But I want to know why you were thinking about Spike. I'm not starting something with you if you want him."

"I don't, it was more of an idle curiosity. Something I figured might happen because he was more accessible and stuff. A way to figure things out." He blinked his dark eyes, a slow smile coming over his face. "Were you jealous?" He screeched as he was tickled, his skin very sensitive right then. He wiggled onto the older man's lap, kissing him to make him stop. He found himself back on the couch, looking up in confusion. "Not good?" he asked quietly.

"Very but not the response I wanted." Giles ran a hand down the teen's side, stroking more than tickling now. "You shouldn't feel the need to stop me, you should trust me to know your limits."

"But I hate being tickled. It hurts." He pouted just a little, it turning into a grin when his lower lip was tugged a few times. "It does. I get cramps when I'm tickled and my ribs hurt." He picked up the hand running down his chest. "What *do* you want?" Xander bit his lip and shook his head, apparently internally struggling to get the words out right. "I mean, with me, what do you want to do about us?" He sighed as his body was covered by a heavy, warm weight, enjoying this first time of being used as a pillow. "Like this," he murmured, taking an active part in the kiss offered to him. He pulled back, looking up into the serious eyes looking into his. "I don't know how to do any of that awake. It's a sleeping thing for me." He shrugged, a little short motion. "You'll have to show me."

"I can do that," Giles assured him. "Later, once you're able to breathe all the time." He laid his head down onto the firm chest, closing his eyes, and enjoyed it.