Mireille (mireille719) wrote in our_fic,
Mireille
mireille719
our_fic

FIC: The Beginning of Knowledge (Buffyverse, Giles/Xander, PG-13/FRT)

Title: The Beginning of Knowledge
Author: Mireille (mireille719)
Fandom: Buffyverse
Pairing: Giles/Xander
Rating: PG-13/FRT
Summary: I think the request says it best: Set in season four. The relationship creeps up on them. One day they're just hanging out; the next something's changed and Giles is folding Xander's underwear. Xander doesn't get it, but Giles is patient.
Word Count: 1700
Disclaimer: They belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy, not to me.
Feedback/Concrit: Both welcome, either here or at mireille719 {at} gmail {dot} com
Notes: This was written for the long-suffering soft_princess in the last round of cya_ficathon. It's only about six months late, I'm ashamed to admit. Beta-read by the talented and wonderful wesleysgirl; any remaining errors are mine. The title also comes from Sofy's request: "The beginning of knowledge is the discovery of something we do not understand." --Frank Herbert





As Giles watched, the elbow that was helping to keep Xander from winding up face-down on the book he was supposedly reading began to slide: just a fraction of an inch with every breath Xander took, but that was enough that soon, Xander's hand was no longer propping up his chin. His arm dropped to the table with a quiet thump, his head slumped forward, and then, with a sleepy-sounding snort, Xander sat upright, shaking his head and rubbing his eyes.

"I wasn't sleeping," he said firmly.

Giles chuckled. "No, of course you weren't. I've often heard of people who make snoring noises while they concentrate on what they're reading." Not that Giles had been doing much reading for the past half-hour, himself. He'd been watching Xander sleep, wondering how something so mundane and familiar could suddenly inspire... fondness? affection? Something Giles suspected was better left alone, at least. He was rather good at leaving his sentiments unexamined.

Xander flushed guiltily, turning his attention back to the book that lay open in front of him. "Sorry," he mumbled. "You know I'm not any good at researching," he went on after a few seconds. "I don't know why you even wanted me here. I'd have been as much help if I stayed home--and at least then you wouldn't have to worry about me drooling on your books."

"Don't be so hard on yourself," Giles said. "You've often been a great help." He smiled at Xander, reaching out and putting a hand lightly on Xander's forearm. "Besides, I enjoy your company a great deal," he admitted.

"Yeah, right," Xander said, but his flush darkened a little, and although his head was bent over his book and it was impossible to be certain, Giles thought he saw him smile.


***


"Don't give me any of that 'Oh, I just bought a television for Masterpiece Theatre,' stuff," Xander warned him as he wrestled the TV out into a more prominent place in the room. "Even if it's true. Tonight you're going to watch classic American entertainment, and you're going to like it."

Giles blinked at him, wincing slightly as Xander adjusted the antenna with a little more force than strictly necessary. "Do try not to break my television," he said, although he felt certain the effort was futile. When Xander ignored him, Giles went over to the sofa, picking up one of the plastic grocery bags Xander had dumped on the cushion. "And why on earth do we need--" He opened the bag and peered inside. "Popcorn, bottled eggnog, cookies with green and red sprinkles on them, and... instant cocoa and marshmallows?" he added, looking inside the second bag.

"Christmas specials," Xander said. "Be right back." He went back outside; Giles took the time to unpack the bags, putting the "eggnog" (which appeared to contain neither eggs nor alcohol, and to be nothing more than flavored milk) in the refrigerator and the rest of Xander's purchases on the kitchen counter.

Xander returned bearing a VCR and a stack of videotapes; he connected the recorder quickly, shoved a tape in the machine, and grinned at Giles. "Christmas specials," he repeated. "I've been taping them all month so I could bring them over here, and now you and I are going to have a real, old-fashioned American holiday celebration: junk food, Frosty, and Rudolph's Shiny New Year.."

The television programs weren't terribly interesting, Giles thought, being aimed even more obviously at six-year-old children than most television was; but Xander curled up next to him on the couch, clutching his arm to make certain he didn't miss the "good parts," and Giles thought there was something to be said for "old-fashioned American holidays," at that.

***


"Valentine's Day was yesterday, I believe," Giles said, being left unable to think of any other coherent response in the face of the giant, heart-shaped and beribboned box of chocolates clutched in Xander's arms.

"Yeah, I know," Xander said, "but Half-Price Chocolate Day is today." He presented the box with a flourish, grinning. "Happy February fifteenth." His face and neck were turning faintly pink, and Giles considered reaching out to touch the heated skin, reassuring Xander that the gesture was appreciated.

Instead, Giles took the chocolates from him, not really knowing what else to do, and wondering if Xander had any idea how his gesture could be misconstrued...or possibly, correctly construed. He was never quite certain what was going on in Xander's mind, whether Xander had constructed other, perfectly "innocent," rationales for his behavior. One day, he supposed he was going to have to confront Xander with the more obvious interpretations of his actions, but not today. No one could be as overtly affectionate as Xander without feeling at least some of that affection, and Giles didn't want to spoil things by being the one to say, "I think we should talk about our relationship."

He'd just take the belated box of chocolates and smile. "I'm sure you expect to be invited in to share my chocolates, too," he said.

Xander grinned back at him. "Well, it's a pretty big box. You'd get sick if you ate it all by yourself."

"Your concern for my welfare is truly inspiring," Giles said, laughing as he let Xander through the door. "Do you mind helping me with a bit of research?"

"Who, me? Just call me Research Man," Xander said, heading over to the couch.

"Don't get chocolate on the books," he warned Xander, but it was only a token complaint.

"If I get chocolate on my hands, I'll lick it off," Xander said. "Or you can." And that had to be, that must be outright flirting; Xander had to know what was going on between them.

Except that Xander was flipping through a book and not really looking at Giles, and perhaps it would be easier to just stick to chocolate and demonology for another day.


***


"Um, Giles?" Xander said, looking up from the comic he was reading and frowning a little. "You do realize you're folding my laundry, right?"

There hadn't been much else to do, and Xander's laundry had been spread out all over the bed, and Giles couldn't just leave it sitting there. He wasn't entirely certain why he'd accepted Xander's invitation to come and "hang out" at Xander's place; he wasn't exactly the "hanging out" type of person. Besides, he always felt slightly odd when he was at Xander's. It was probably the realization that he was older than either of Xander's parents--that, or the fact that Xander's mother, at least, seemed utterly unaware of that, and offered them fruit punch just as if Xander had brought Willow or Buffy or Oz over for the afternoon.

"Yes, Xander," Giles said. "I do know what I'm doing."

Xander paused, still frowning. "You do realize you're folding my laundry again, right? This isn't a one-time thing with you. You keep doing stuff like this."

Giles shrugged, smiling as he said, "If you'd fold your own laundry, I wouldn't have to."

"You don't have to now. I mean, Willow doesn't fold my--okay, you're folding my underwear, Giles, you seriously don't have to do that." The frown disappeared, though, and Xander added, with a grin, "You don't have to stop, though, because I hate folding laundry and it's nice to have stuff to wear that hasn't been wadded up in the basket since I washed it."

"Let me guess. You're going to be inviting me over more often now? Say, once a week, after you've finished doing your washing?"

"It's an idea," Xander said, "but nah. I just wanted to hang out with you, that's all." Sounding a shade defensive, he added, "I like hanging out with you, okay?"

"Yes, Xander," Giles said. "That's perfectly fine with me."

"Seriously, though, none of my other friends make themselves at home with my boxer shorts," Xander said. "And I didn't mean it like that," he added quickly.

"Pity," Giles said quietly, but since Xander didn't reply, he wasn't certain if he'd been heard or not.


***


"So," Xander said, shuffling his feet and looking down at the floor, "I probably should have told you this before, but it turns out I kind of have a... a thing for you."

It was only by a supreme effort of will that Giles managed to keep from laughing. "Er, yes," he said. "I've known that for a while." Although now he'd had it confirmed that Xander had been trying to conceal it from him all this time--not very well, obviously.

"You knew?" Xander exclaimed. "What do you mean, you knew? And you didn't freak out? You didn't hate me?" He groaned. "You mean I could have done something about it and it would have been okay?"

Now Giles did laugh, but at least this time he thought Xander might not take it as an insult. "Yes, Xander, it would have been perfectly all right."

Xander looked up at him finally, and now he managed a smile. "You mean this would have been okay?" he asked, stepping forward and pressing his lips to Giles', his hand curling around Giles' neck as they kissed.

Giles kissed him back before responding. "Yes, of course it would. Do you really think I fold the underwear of people I don't want to kiss?"

"I don't know! Maybe you have some kind of weird underwear fetish!" Xander paused. "You don't, do you?"

"No, Xander. I just saw something I could do to help you, and so I did it."

"Okay, then." Xander kissed him again, letting his free hand slide down Giles' back to settle just below his waist. "And it's okay if I do this, too?"

"Are you going to ask me if it's all right with me every time you touch me?"

With a mischievous grin, Xander said, "Maybe." He slid his hand down further, stroking and caressing. "Is this--"

"Yes, Xander, this is fine. Do you know what else would be all right with me?" At Xander's questioning look, he said, "If you were to come upstairs with me, right now."

Xander's grin this time was less mischievous, more delighted. "In case you were wondering," he said, "it's okay with me, too."

Giles wasted no time in leading the way. They'd wasted enough time that year already.
Tags: buffyverse, giles/xander, mireille
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