Disclaimer: All things BTVS (and ATS) belong to Joss Whedon and various corporate entities.

Warmth
by Lostgirl (lostgirlslair at yahoo.com)

Pairing: Giles/Wesley

Rated: PG16

Spoilers: I doubt there are any, but it's set late season 3

Notes: Big thanks to Jane Davitt and Kyrieane for the beta readings.

Summary: Wesley is injured and found by Giles.


The library floor was cold. It seeped into Wes, making even his insides shiver. He'd only woken a moment ago, but couldn't bring himself to move. He'd tried, but the dizziness sent him crashing to the floor again. He'd been there researching when he'd heard a sound behind the stacks. It was too late for anyone else to still be in the building. He was alone then just as he was now. Alone...and cold.

He might have dozed. There were footsteps now. Warm hands on his face, someone lifting him to a sitting position. The nausea swam up and his eyes snapped open.

Mr. Giles was studying his face, expression soft and calm. He never looked at Wes like that. That look was reserved for the children, for when they needed comfort. The silence suddenly seemed to fill the library and Wesley couldn't meet that gaze, didn't deserve it.

"Someone hit me," he whispered, eyes slanting away, shamed by the way his voice broke.

"So I see." The man's voice was softer than he'd ever heard it before, washing over his aching head like a salve. "Do you think you can stand? If I help you?"

"Of-of course," he responded at once, realizing how odd it must look for him to just lay there, letting the older man hold him. He made to move and his stomach jumped into his throat, choking him.

"Shh, shh," Giles soothed, helping Wes to turn to the side as his lunch met the library floor. A warm hand rubbed circles over his back, replacing the cold with a heat that wanted to rush to Wesley's face and...other regions. "Don't try to move so quickly. I'm not going anywhere."

Wesley nodded, immediately regretting the action when his head spun.

"Let's try to get you sitting on your own before we go for standing."

With Giles' help, Wesley struggled semi-upright, propping himself against the bookcase.

"I'll be right back. Is that okay?"

Wes remembered not to nod this time. In truth, he didn't want Giles to leave. Even though he knew it was stupid, some voice in his head whispered that the ex-Watcher might not come back to help him. Taking in huge gasps of air in an attempt to keep his stomach in place, Wes waited. The library doors opened, and then closed.

*He's gone!* Panic tried to overwhelm him. Wes fought it, all the while forcing himself to move, to not be left there, alone. It was an effort to climb to his feet and an accomplishment just to keep his stomach from jumping once again. Sweating with the effort--which really was bizarre because it was so cold in the library--Wes leaned against the bookcase.

"Wes?" He hadn't heard Giles return, but the man was standing right there, watching him with worried eyes. "I told you I'd be right back. You shouldn't have tried to stand without me." There was no reproach in the gentle voice and Wesley sighed his relief.

"Sorry," he muttered, closing his eyes against the dizziness, then opening them again at the feel of something warm and wet against his lips.

Giles dabbed at his face with wet paper towels and Wesley nearly groaned.

"Just let me clean this up and we'll be on our way," Giles assured him, wrapping Wes' hand around the paper towels to keep it held to his face.

This was horrible. First attacked, now all but helpless if front of...and Mr. Giles left to clean up...*I hate Sunnydale.*

"Yes, it can be a trial," the other man replied and it took Wes a moment to realize he'd spoken aloud. "Still. There are...perks to being here."

"I haven't seen any yet," Wesley said, closing his eyes and letting Giles tend to him. It...it felt good to have someone fussing, even if part of him was deeply embarrassed to need it.

"Let's see if we can't remedy that...after you've rested." Giles' voice was right in his ear, his breath on Wesley's neck, sending little shivers down his spine.

Wes swallowed against the lump in his throat. Too surprised to resist, he allowed the older man to take his weight. It was easier to move now, with the dizziness lessening.

"Where, uh, where are we going?"

"To my car of course," Giles answered, a small smile playing over his lips. "Someone will have to stay with you tonight, to wake you every little while. I know the routine."

"Uh," Wes shivered once again, this time because of what his imagination was making of the friendly words. "I...I don't want to intrude, don't want to be a bother."

"You're shivering. Don't worry. We'll get you warmed up soon."

Giles propped him into the front seat, large hands brushing Wes as he buckled the seat belt around him. The contact was shocking and warm and Wesley had to bite his lips to stifle the gasps, to keep from embarrassing himself.

The ride went by in silence, or at least Wesley was pretty sure it did. The car's movement made him dizzy and what mind he had left tried frantically to convince him that his reactions stemmed from the fact that it had been so long since anyone really touched him.

Wes refused to let himself think about how long; wouldn't let himself count up the years.

They parked in front of Giles' flat and Wes realized it wasn't the motion that would bring back the nausea; it was the stopping. He watched, as if from a distance, as his clumsy hands scrambled at the door, pushing it open almost violently. He tried to lean out, but the seatbelt held him still and Wes whimpered, unable to work the damned thing.

Larger, stronger hands pushed his away. The seatbelt loosened and Wes threw himself to his knees outside the car, dry heaves wracking his body and making his head feel as if someone had hollowed it out with a sharp ice cream scoop.

Once again, there was a warm hand on his back, low nonsense whispered in his ear. As much as he hated himself for it, he liked the comfort, reveled in it even as his body jerked and his ribs began to ache.

When the heaving finally passed, Wesley hung his head, too exhausted to stand. There wasn't much choice but to allow Giles to help him up and all but walk him to his flat. Wes hissed as he leaned against the wall, waiting for Giles to unlock the door. He was beginning to feel the rest of his body, even through the ache in his head, beginning to think it wasn't just the concussion making him stiff and weak.

"Come on."

Wesley started at Giles' words, found the man holding out an arm to him, looking expectant. Had he faded out? He remembered not to shake the cobwebs out of his head this time.

"At least I'm a quick learner," he muttered to himself, earning a raised eyebrow from Giles. "Nothing," he continued by way of explanation, glancing away.

"We'll get you settled on the couch. I'll start a fire and get you some tea before I have a look at those cuts."

"Cuts?" Wesley blinked, trying to bring the older man into focus, only then realizing he wasn't wearing his glasses.

"Someone did a number on you." There was a hard edge in the man's voice that left Wes wondering what he'd done wrong.

Panic began to well as he was eased down onto the couch. He'd done something wrong. Would Giles still help him? How cross had he made the older man? How bad was this going to be?

"Don't worry," Giles laid a throw over him, tucking it under his legs with a gentleness that took Wesley's breath away. "We'll find out who did this. I promise."

The hard edge was still there, but it was somehow softened by the careful way Giles was handling him. The panic didn't fade, but it did settle, only to flare into fireworks a moment later when Giles' ministrations brought his face mere inches from Wesley's.

Everything seemed to slow. Giles noticed where his face was, but didn't pull away. Instead, his eyes flickered up, meeting Wesley's head on, trapping him. Wes stared, unable to look away, swallowing against the sudden, aching dryness that claimed his throat.

Their lips were inches apart, so close he could feel the other man's breath on his skin. Giles' tongue flickered out, wetting his firm mouth. The motion freed Wesley's eyes and, as he watched, the urge to lick his own lips was nearly overwhelming.

He'd never kissed another man before. He'd thought about it. Often, if he was truthful with himself. He'd even thought of kissing this man and...touching him. Wes was nearly certain part of that fantasy was about to actually happen.

Giles straightened, pulling away, and cleared his throat, turning to start a fire.

Wesley choked back a whimper, his breath coming fast as he frantically sought to understand. He had been so sure...maybe he'd been projecting or...oh, god. What if Giles hadn't felt the same at all? His thoughts had to have been obvious.

*Oh, god. Oh, god.*

"I don't mean to be a bother," he croaked out, moving to stand despite the way his ribs protested.

"Sit still," Giles admonished, one large hand landing on Wes' shoulder, gently pressing him back to the couch. "You sound hoarse. I should get you that tea."

Wes fidgeted, listening to Giles clatter around in the kitchen. His stomach was doing flip-flops and not only from the nausea. The urge to turn and look gnawed at him, but he fought it, keeping his eyes trained on the fire.

*It was nothing*, he kept telling himself, repeating it as if the mantra would become a shield against further embarrassment. Still, his mind kept throwing up the image of Giles' lips, so close they'd have filled his vision if he'd have let them.

"Here you are."

Wes jumped at the sound of Giles' voice, his mind having wandered off into the memory.

"Did you doze?" Giles sat next to him, a cup of tea in either hand. Wesley accepted his without ever meeting the other man's gaze. "I'm sorry if I startled you."

"I wasn't sleeping," Wes replied after a grateful sip at his mug. The warmth of it did more for him even than the taste, which was pure heaven after so long without proper tea. He could feel it chasing away the cold inside him and that made him drowsy.

"But you will be soon," Giles chuckled, settling back onto the couch, one arm stretching over the back.

Wesley almost choked when he felt that arm brush him, just slightly. He recovered quickly enough to send a reassuring look to Giles, who'd straightened immediately, worried.

Worried...about him?

"Swallowed badly," Wes muttered, leaning back. His eyes felt so heavy, but he really shouldn't fall asleep here. It wasn't polite. Wasn't he supposed to stay awake?

"Here," Giles took the warm cup from his hands. Wesley opened his mouth to protest, but the older man cut him off. "You can have it back as soon as I've looked at those cuts. You'll be falling asleep soon and I want to get them taken care of first. Is that all right?"

Wes nodded, not sure he had words.

"I'm just going to fetch the first aid kit."

Again, Wesley nodded. Why was Giles doing all this? Why be so nice to him? The man didn't even like him. He could have just as easily dropped Wesley at the hospital and washed his hands of the whole affair. So, why hadn't he?

"Here we are," Giles said as he returned, probably attempting not to startle him once again.

Attempting to avoid the other man's eyes, Wes found his gaze stuck on Giles' hands. He'd looked at them before, knew they were large, weapon roughened. He'd never let himself stare though. Now, he couldn't help himself. He watched each muscle flex, each tendon pull tight, each scar bunch and pull at the surrounding skin. There were many scars, though Wes didn't know what put them there. He wanted to ask, to know something about this man whose fingers brushed his lips gently, dabbing at blood and who knew what else. The words wouldn't come. His mind felt hazy and it was so much easier to close his eyes, to relax into the strong touch and pretend.

"Wes? Are you falling asleep on me?" The words were vague things, buzzing in his ear, but easy to ignore. A sigh followed, but there was no anger in it and so Wesley continued to ignore. He felt as if he were sinking, but if felt good. His body no longer seemed so cold and he was comfortable, more so then he'd been in ages. The ache remained, throbbing in the background, but not enough to disturb his exhaustion.

There were hands on him, unbuttoning his shirt.

"No!" Wesley sat up with a start, eyes snapping open. Giles had jerked back, falling on his ass and staring at Wes with bewildered eyes.

"Wes? Are you all right?" The use of the nickname only further disoriented him. Giles had never called him that, was always formal, if not polite.

"Mr. Giles?"

"Rupert."

It took Wesley a moment to process that, confused by the rapid change from sleeping to waking. The abrupt movement had set his head to pounding again and his mind spun like a top. He realized how hard he was breathing and tried to calm down as he blinked and looked around the room, trying to orient himself.

"Wesley."

His eyes snapped to Giles at the sound of the older man's voice, his mouth forming words just as reflexively. "Yes?"

There was that look on the other man's face again, the one given only to the children when they laid their problems on his doorstep. Wes had watched the ex-Watcher talking to them, wondering if they knew how lucky they were to have...anyone look at them with such compassion and caring. He knew he must still be asleep then.

"Is this a dream?"

One of Giles' eyebrows lifted, a bemused smile lightening his face. "I don't believe so. I doubt you'd be so injured if either of us were dreaming."

Wesley didn't know what to say to that. It was true, but then it wasn't. Sometimes pain carried through into dreams, even if it wasn't enough to wake you up when you were drained, when everything was dark and too cramped to move.

"I need to see how bad it is, Wes. Wesley?"

Mr. Giles voice dragged him back to the moment and for that, alone, he was grateful.

"What?"

"Your chest. I can see the bruising around your collar...it looks as if someone tried to strangle you." The last was ground out, Giles' jaw clenching around the words.

Wesley blinked, trying to follow the change in tone as much as the words themselves. "Someone choked me? You want...what?"

"I need you to take off your shirt," Giles sighed, standing to come and sit beside him on the couch. Heat rolled off the older man's body and Wesley began wonder what his skin would feel like, only to quickly cut off that train of thought, turning his mind to the words.

"Oh...uh, y-yes of-of course."

Wesley flinched at the first prod, but forced himself to be still when Giles winced and apologized. He'd have liked to get a look at the damage for himself, but didn't have the energy to get to the bathroom mirror.

"Is-is it bad?" He couldn't keep the words inside any longer. He had to know the extent of it.

"You're black and blue," Giles commented, voice rough and hoarse.

*I must be a mess*, Wes thought, closing his eyes so he didn't have to see the anger or reproach on Mr. Giles' face. He already knew he should have done better, already knew that he was a pathetic excuse for a Watcher. He'd been told often enough and didn't need Giles to confirm it.

"I...I didn't even see them," he murmured, mostly to himself. It wasn't an excuse, he knew that, but he only wanted to try to explain before the older man could get too worked up.

"I know." The soft comfort in Mr. Giles' voice took him by surprised. Wesley opened his eyes to find the other man watching him. Wesley's breath caught in his throat as he met the man's eyes, nearly choking him when Giles laid a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "We'll find them. They won't get away with this."

Wesley could only stare, realizing for the first time that the ex-Watcher wasn't angry with him.

"You, you don't think that I..." unable to finish the sentence, Wes looked away, his eyes finding their way to the other man's' hand. Wes' stomach knotted, realizing that Giles hadn't moved his other hand. It still rested on his shoulder, kneading gently.

"That you what, Wes?"

That nickname again. Hearing it said in such a low, intimate way had his heart beating fast, even as he frantically tried to convince himself it was nothing, meant nothing. It hurt to get his hopes up, or rather, it would hurt worse later.

"I should have been able to protect myself," he answered without thought, listing the things he'd done wrong. "I should have been more aware. I should have--"

"No," Giles interrupted, voice so intense it drew Wesley's eyes back to his face. "This isn't your fault."

Four words. Just small words, but strung together in a way that made his breath catch, made tears prickle at his eyes.

"I...I should have--"

Giles' lips cut off his words this time. The man closed in so quickly that Wes didn't have time to panic. Out of nowhere, it seemed to him, there was a firm pressure, soft lips rubbing against his own.

A whimper escaped him when the ex-Watcher's tongue slipped out, licking at him almost urgently. Wesley opened under the onslaught, his body reacting quick and fast, his heartbeat thudding in his ears. Giles' tongue snaked into his mouth and Wesley moaned, his muscles relaxing. He melted against the older man, half-disbelieving and half-desperate for any touch at all.

Then Giles was pulling away and Wes heard himself whimper at the loss.

"I-God, Wes, I'm so sorry," the older man muttered before fleeing to the kitchen.

Wesley stared at the wall, shocked, unsure. Finally, he blinked, heat rising to his face as he tried not to cry. The last thing he needed was to cry, and in front of Mr. Giles no less. As if he hadn't embarrassed himself enough for the next century.

"Here."

He jumped at the sound of the older man's voice, sending pain jolting along his bruised torso.

Giles handed him a fresh cup of tea and sat on the couch once again, this time putting far more distance between them.

*He's probably afraid I'll want to kiss him again*, Wes thought with a self-deprecating snort. Still, he...he had to know what he'd done wrong. Having been handed something he'd wanted for...a long time, he had to know why it had been taken away.

"Was...I, uh. What was wrong with it?"

"What?" Giles looked at him as if he'd just asked why the moon was crimson. "What was wrong with what?"

*Perhaps he wants to pretend it didn't happen?*

"With," Wes looked away, staring into his teacup as if it held the answers to everything. "With the kiss...did I...was I..." he didn't even know how to finish the question.

"What? Oh, Wesley," Giles scooted closer to him. "Look at me."

He didn't particularly want to, but all the same, Wes raised his gaze to meet Giles'. The other man's expression was soft and searching, so caring...he wanted to believe it was for him, but he knew it was because he was injured.

"I shouldn't have kissed you." Giles confused him, saying that, but at the same time reaching out to lie a gentle hand on his cheek. Wesley found it hard to concentrate on what the other man was saying, found it hard to think with those rough fingers rubbing at his jaw line. "You're hurt, and dazed. You have a concussion. It was wrong of me...which doesn't mean I wouldn't do exactly the same thing if I had to do it over."

"You'd..." Wes stared, leaning his head into that touch, taking a risk, but barely caring anymore. "You'd kiss me again?"

"If you weren't injured? I'd do a hell of a lot more to you than kiss you." Giles' voice and eyes were frank, blunt even, in a way that Wesley simply couldn't doubt. His cock hardened at what he was hearing, setting up a throbbing ache inside him. Of course, the feel of Giles'...*Rupert's* hand on his face did nothing to impair his reaction.

"I've..." he shouldn't say it. He should take what he'd gotten, more than he'd ever expected, and be happy with it, savor it and pull it close on cold nights, but..."I've heard that kisses can be healing to bruises and scrapes."

One of Rupert's eyebrows rose, a smile lifting lips that Wesley now knew were just as soft as they looked. The older man leaned in, so slow Wes thought he might die of the waiting. Then that mouth was pressed to his again. The kiss was little more than a fleeting brush to his split lip, but had Wesley's cock twitching.

Next Rupert was kissing his face, so sweet and perfect that Wesley could have died a happy man. There was a flicker of tongue as Rupert worked over his jaw line and Wesley moaned, hips thrusting up embarrassingly when Rupert's mouth reached his chest.

"Mmmm," the man rumbled against him and Wes let his head fall back onto the sofa, his breathing harsh and rasping. "So responsive," Giles was murmuring, lips rubbing against Wesley's sensitive skin with every word, "so very hot for it." Rupert's hand slipped onto his thigh and Wes arched into the touch, ignoring the dizziness that warned against too much movement. "So eager."

Wesley groaned, intentionally biting the split in his lip and welcoming the pain, as it kept him from coming and embarrassing himself.

Rupert pulled away again, moving to meet Wesley's eyes.

"Have you ever been with a man, Wes?"

There were no words. Fearing the older man's reaction, his laughter, Wes shook his head, but said nothing.

Rupert moved closer, bending one leg under him so that his body pressed along Wesley's side and his lips were right at Wes' ear. Wesley closed his eyes, shivering at the feel of Giles' breath against his neck, drinking in the man's low murmurs.

"I'll change that for you," he whispered, husky and hoarse. "Show you how good it can be." Rupert's hand brushed Wes' stomach, making the muscles contract and pushing a startled breath out of Wes. "Kiss every bruise and scrape. But you need to rest first. Need to sleep and heal. How does that sound, Wes?"

"Like heaven." Wesley felt a blush rise in his cheeks at his own words, but he refused to take them back.

"That's a good boy. Relax. Let yourself go. Sleep and I'll watch over you." Giles pulled Wesley up against him, his back to Rupert's front, and Wes moaned. He let his head fall back on the older man's shoulder with a fidgeting smile. When there was no reproof, he relaxed, breath moving quick in and out of his lungs.

"Do...do I have to sleep?"

"Yes. I'm not about to take you while you have a concussion."

Wesley shivered, gasping. Giles rearranged himself beneath him and suddenly Wesley felt the man's erection pressing into the small of his back.

"I...I don't know if I can sleep...like, um, this."

"I think you'll be surprised at just how easy that will be," Giles whispered in his ear, followed by a few words in Latin that Wes realized as a sleep spell, something easily deflected had he actually wanted to.

"You'll...you will still be here when I wake up...right?"

"I'm not going anywhere, Wesley. I promise you. I'll be here to wake you up, every hour."

~end~


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