Xander was supposed to be asleep. They all were. Pre-showdown rest, as ordered by the Generalissimo. But there was no way, no chance at all. Unfinished business, ants in his pants, general horniness. Sleep felt like a total waste of time. Was this what soldiers felt like the night before they got dumped onto a cold beach in Normandy? Xander supposed it must be. He stared at the ceiling over the living room sofa and wriggled. A pre-apocalypse last-night-on-earth jack was not hitting the emotional tone he wanted. He wanted to touch somebody, hold somebody. Share it. Snuggle, even. But the house was full of impossible people. A whole bunch of people he wasn’t interested in at all. A few people he wanted but couldn’t have.
What the hell. Last night on earth, maybe, so give it a shot.
Xander got off the couch and nearly tripped over Andrew’s prone body. The weasel was asleep, mouth open, snoring lightly. Xander stepped over him and slipped down the hallway. There was a little room there, just beyond the stairs to the cellar. It had been the room where Joyce did the household accounts and clipped coupons. Now Giles slept on a cot there, behind one of the house’s few precious doors.
There was a light visible under the door. Xander listened. Awake? Not? Then Xander heard the chair creak and Giles say something under his breath. Muttering to himself, the way he did. Xander knocked, then opened the door and slipped in. Giles was at the little desk, writing something. He covered whatever he was writing with a hand. He turned, mouth open as if to complain, then he shut it and almost smiled.
“You should be asleep,” Giles said.
“So should you. What you up to?”
Giles shrugged. “Some last minute business.” He shuffled the papers he’d been writing on into a pile and turned them over.
Xander closed the door behind himself and sat down on the floor. “Last will and testament?”
Now that scared Xander. “You think Buffy’s plan won’t work.”
“To the contrary. If I thought it would fail, I wouldn’t bother with goodbyes.”
“Good point,” Xander said. “But it seems grim in all the wrong ways. Dying tomorrow doesn’t sound like something to plan for.”
Giles shrugged. “There are worse ways to go, I think, than in stopping apocalypse.”
“But see, and this is my point here, why go at all? If you think it’s going to work, then plan for success.”
“Don’t see the use. It’ll be a relief, really.”
“Because of what happens afterward. Where we go when we get out of here.”
“Why? What have I got to go to after tomorrow? My family is dead. My friends are dead. The organization I’ve been part of all my life has been wiped off the face of the earth. All in the same moment. One bomb, all gone. I flee here to find that my Slayer’s a stranger to me and the rest of you not much better. I’ve got no place with you any more.”
Xander said, “I didn’t know.”
Giles shook his head. “Shouldn’t surprise me, really,” he said, half-muttering.
“You didn’t say anything.”
“Idiot. You’re an idiot, Giles. I love you, but jeez.”
“Quiet!” Giles said, hissing, and Xander clapped a hand over his mouth.
“Why on earth would you think I didn’t care?”
“I haven’t been getting on with the lot of you in months. It was driven home to me when you flung yourselves on me to verify that I was alive and not the First.”
“But we had to check.”
Giles grimaced. “You shouldn’t have had to.”
“But we hadn’t touched you, so we didn’t know.”
Giles frowned for an instant, then turned back to his desk. “Rather my point.”
Xander shut up and thought about that. He touched his eyepatch, and wondered what it felt like to lose dozens of people he knew all at once. The year hadn’t just been a suckfest for him, but for Giles too. He’d been insensitive clod man. That feeling he had right now was guilt, but he could fix that.
He said, “When’s the last time you got hugged? And not tackled, I mean.”
Giles’s face did something like a wince, but he finished it off with a defensive chin-thrust. “No bloody idea. Xander–”
Xander knew what to do now. He stood up and took the one step he needed to reach Giles. He gripped Giles’s shoulders and pulled him back against his chest. Giles went rigid, but Xander didn’t let up. He reached around and rubbed Giles’s chest.
Giles’s shoulders rose up until they about met his ears. “What are you–?”
“Giving you your hug. Whether you want it or not. Stand up, and we’ll do it right.”
“Because I want to hug you, you self-pitying dweebazoid. Now.”
To Xander’s surprise, Giles stood up and shoved his chair under the little desk. He shuffled forward obediently into the waiting circle of Xander’s arms. Then he stopped again, arms at his sides.
Xander hitched one arm around Giles’s neck and the other around his waist and hauled him in close. Giles groaned under his breath. It was not a sexy groan even in the least. It was half pain, half relief. Desperate. Xander understood that. He held on tight, rubbing Giles’s back gently. Slowly, slowly, Giles relaxed in his arms, then Xander felt Giles’s hands slide up to rest against his waist. Then Giles squeezed, just a little, and Xander made his own happy noise.
They stood like that for a while, just hugging. Time to implement the second part of the plan. Xander shuffled them back a few steps to the little cot. They could cram in together, just barely, he thought. Giles balked, and pulled back.
“C’mon. I don’t want to spend our last night on earth alone, and I am digging the hug. We can fit.”
Giles gave in, then, and took off his glasses. They went onto the desk, along with the contents of his pockets. He took off his shoes and set them under the cot, paired up neatly. It was like watching Mr Rogers undress, only a really sarcastic, world-weary Mr Rogers who kept holy water in his hip pocket and a knife strapped to his leg. Xander grinned then pushed Giles down onto the cot, back against the wall. He squeezed himself in. The cot creaked alarmingly, but Xander ignored it and wrapped an arm around Giles’s waist. Get the hug going again, right where they’d left off, only this time horizontal. Perfect.
"Get this stupid sweater off. Why do you always wear so many clothes?’
Giles tugged at the collar of Xander’s flannel shirt.
Xander shed the flannel and took Giles’s sweater from him. He tossed both over his shoulder onto the floor. Giles almost smiled when he did that. He settled back onto the cot and against Giles’s chest again. Much better without all that stuff in the way. Xander tightened his arms around Giles’s waist and shifted them on the cot. Hips against hips now, and Giles wasn’t flinching and backing away. He sighed and leaned his forehead against Xander’s.
“Pretty sure you’re real,” Xander said. “One last thing to check.”
He leaned forward, slowly, giving Giles all the time in the world to complain. But Giles didn’t complain. Instead his eyes closed, and when Xander kissed him he kissed back. And he meant it, because he kissed Xander again. He made that noise again, too, that desperate half-choked sound. The sound of a guy who hadn’t been kissed even longer than he hadn’t been hugged. A guy who needed it.
Xander kissed Giles for all he was worth.
Giles needed a shave. So did Xander, for that matter. Raspy chins, noses that got in the way, and soft kisses that made it all not matter. Slow deep kisses. Giles rubbed Xander’s temple, under the eyepatch band, rubbed little circles right where it sometimes bugged him.
Somewhere in there it started feeling sexy and not so desperate. Probably because Giles was licking Xander’s lips, nuzzling along his jaw to his earlobe and sucking. Last night before D-Day hot makeout session. What a charge it was, thinking about battle tomorrow while trying to give Giles a hickey to remember.
Xander let his hand sneak down and linger on Giles’s package. Giles squeezed his eyes shut and made a sound that Xander couldn’t exactly figure out. He’d take it as a good sound. Giles thrust into his hand, just a little bit, so Xander decided to go for it. All the way. He fumbled and got Giles’s belt buckle undone, his pants button popped open. Xander slid the zipper down and pulled Giles’s pants open. Giles lifted his butt off the bed long enough to let Xander tug them down to his thighs. Then he gripped Xander by the wrist.
“Is this appropriate?” he said.
“You just told me you expect to be dead tomorrow. Who the hell cares about appropriate?”
“Ah. Yes, I suppose that’s a bit-- Do carry on.” But there was a spark of a smile on Giles’s face now.
Xander reached in and took Giles out of his briefs. He wasn’t all the way hard yet, but Xander knew what to do about that. Gently, though, so as not to scare away the deer-skittish repressed man. Gentle touches, teasing touches. Giles’s dick was nice, a solid handful. Hot, a little bit sweaty, as Giles himself was. Uncircumcised, which was exotic and neat. Xander explored and Giles’s dick let him know he was doing the right things.
Giles was doing his own fumbling around at last, going for the buttons on Xander’s jeans. Button-fly jeans were way sexier than zipper jeans, because of how much groping the other person had to do to get them open. Xander watched Giles grope him and grinned.
Giles stopped and looked anxiously at Xander. “Okay?”
Xander pulled away to wriggle his jeans down further and Giles did the same. The cot wobbled and Xander froze. Collapsing metal cot would be bad. But it held up under the strain and Xander got his jeans all the way off. Much better-- nothing in the way now. He got his dick lined up against Giles’s. It felt amazing to be touched like this. He hadn’t been with anybody else for way too long. Last hug, last kiss, last time making love: when had it been for either one of them? Xander refused to believe it was their last time, ever, though.
“Tell you what. You live through this thing, and we’ll do this again tomorrow night.”
“In a proper bed?” Giles sounded plaintive, and Xander knew just what he meant.
“In a giant bed. Acres of bed. In some nice abandoned hotel, where we get a shower all to ourselves. I promise.”
“Sounds like heaven.”
“Will be. Heaven on earth. Oh, man, you feel good.”
It did feel good, so good, his dick rubbing against Giles’s, legs all tangled up together, Giles’s breath on his face. So good to touch somebody else, a friend, somebody Xander had loved one way or another for years, holding him close, making him feel good while he made you feel good.
Giles buried his face in Xander’s neck. He was moaning but stifling it. Damn, but Xander wanted to hear that noise for real, hear Giles unleashed, at full volume. He pushed against him harder, driving them faster now. Giles pulled back at the last second, threw his head back, thudded it right back into the wall, and came, silently. Xander watched him ride it out, then, finally, he let himself go. Let himself lose track of the world, whiteout, orgasm. He came back down a few seconds later, trembling, to feel Giles holding him steady.
Xander let himself slump. Giles pushed his sweaty hair out of the way and kissed his forehead. Afterglow. Giles was good about afterglow, much better than Xander. All he could do was rest his head on Giles’s shoulder and breathe while Giles stroked his face.
Eventually Xander sat up. Total mess on their stomachs and all over Xander’s shirt. He sighed happily and mopped it all up. T-shirt off, also thrown on the floor behind them. He resettled on the cot. Giles un-rumpled the blanket and spread it out over them both. Xander hugged him again, all nice and warm under the blanket.
Giles had a look on his face Xander hadn’t seen there before, a sort of sleepy self-satisfied thing. His lips were red and chafed, and his face was flushed. He looked like he’d just spent the evening having sex, which in fact he had. Xander let himself go all self-satisfied himself. He’d done good. He let his head rest on the pillow next to Giles’s. They were nose to nose. There was no room at all on the cot. They’d spend the remains of the night squashed up against each other. Xander was okay with that.
One last thing to make sure of.
“Giles. Tomorrow night. Date?”
“Date,” said Giles.