Title: Shades of Normality

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Buffy:tvs/Angel:ts

Rating: I dunno... PG?

Pairing: Wesley/Giles

Disclaimer: Oh ghods, no. I don't have any rights to these characters what-so-ever. This is just innocent fun. Or snuggly fun, at the very least.

Spoilers: This is set... I dunno... sometime in the middle. But apart from the local, there's not really anything in the way of spoilers

Summary: Wesley has a cold, Giles pays a visit, and snuggling ensues.



Shades of Normality

     Wesley was practically cursing the fact that he hadn't gone for a ground-level apartment as he made his way home at last. To say the last few days had been long and hard would have been an incredible understatement. First there had been the matter of the pack of Partanul demons laying waste to a particularly upscale part of the business district. Then they'd had to break into Wolfram and Hart which, even on a good day, was virtually impossible. But tracking down the charm that had been used to summon the demons had required far more skill and precision than any of their other missions as of late. Even after they had ended the spell, they'd had to track down one demon which had broken away from the pack and gone rogue.


     Cordelia had not missed the opportunity to tease Wesley about how he must have had practice with this sort of thing in the past. Her jokes about his past profession were less than amusing when he was ducking the blows of the aggressive and rather angry Partanul in the middle of an antique shop. For as exhausting as it had all been, it was a relatively normal few days, all things considered. At least, normal for him.


     But on top of all that, sometime during all that, Wesley had contracted what was now proving to be a very formidable cold. Now that the demons had been defeated and he could afford the luxury of bed rest, Wesley was determined not to squander it. He had made some final notes in a case file and cleared his desk of all pressing matters, doing so one-handed of course while pressing a handkerchief to his nose. Then he had congratulated the rest of his team on a job well done and headed straight home.


     A deep rumbling in his stomach told him he was hungry, as right he should be considering he couldn't remember the last time he'd taken a proper meal. But at the moment the thought of fluttering about in the kitchen for an hour preparing food was not a particularly happy one. He was much keener on the idea of crawling into bed with a thick, clean handkerchief and a hot water bottle and sleeping for days on end.


     He paused in the stairwell, pressing a palm to the wall to steady himself. "hehhhh-IGSchhhh!" Wesley sneezed with a shake of his head and his nose buried into an overly utilized handkerchief.


     His fingers curled and petted the wall as he blew his nose heartily. The sound was not pleasant, but he would be in his apartment in a few moments and would have more clean handkerchiefs at his disposal then. And he really needed to clear his nose as best he could. It felt so stuffed that he wasn't sure he'd be able to taste a thing even if he were to fix himself a dinner. Truly, a long sleep would be more beneficial.


     But as he finished climbing the stairs to his level and he opened the door to his apartment at last, it seemed neither task was what fate had in store for him tonight. Sitting on his couch was a man Wesley could recognize just from the back of his head. Something fluttered in his stomach as the man turned his head and looked over his shoulder at the doorway.


     Wesley closed the door quickly behind himself and shoved his handkerchief into his pocket. "Giles," he said, slightly out of breath from his climb up the stairs and, in part, the shock. "What are you-- I mean, what a pleasant surprise it is to see you here. An unexpected surprise, I think, but certainly pleasant." Giles smiled back at him and Wesley swayed with uncertainty as he tried to recall the date. "I didn't know you were coming today, did I?"


     "Ah, no," Giles said, still smiling. "It's been a trying week in Sunnydale," Giles said, pulling off his glasses with one hand and taking out his pocket handkerchief to rub the already clean lenses cleaner. "I am glad to be able to leave the Hellmouth for a few days to be with you."


     Wesley chuckled, thinking about the week he had been through. "I'm afraid the City of is not an entirely peaceful place for a retreat at the moment."


     Giles carefully replaced his glasses and blinked as his eyes focused on Wesley again. "Any place where I can find comfort in your arms is one I will find peaceful."


     Wesley smiled but felt terribly uneasy. He did not have much comfort to offer at the moment. Sneezes he had in plenty, but comfort? Not so much. "Giles," he started, unsure of where he was going with that. Unable to stop himself, he quickly took in a sharp breath. "hhh-" and pitched forward as he fumbled for the handkerchief he didn't have ready. "IHGschhhhhh! EhhhGShhhhh!"


     Giles walked over with the handkerchief he'd been about to put away. He offered it without prodding or questioning. Wesley took it gratefully and wiped at his nose. "Excuse be," he said softly. Then, "I'b so sorry. I've caught the bost dreadful cold. Had I dowd you were thigig of visitig, I would have suggested you do so adother tibe."


     "So I suppose the only thing you feel much like doing is climbing into bed and sleeping all weekend?" Giles speculated. When Wesley nodded in strong agreement, Giles heaved a sigh. "Thank God. I'm not up for much, either. I've had a wretched headache for the last two days that I can't seem to shake." Then he smiled. "And I have an unnaturally strong craving for hot soup. Would you eat some if I made it?"


     Wesley took a moment to consider this, weighing his options. While normally he would have insisted upon going straight to bed, perhaps by way of the bathroom to get cold medicine for himself and pain killers for Giles, the thought of home-cooked soup was awfully tempting. As was the idea of a nice, quiet meal with Giles, which was ultimately what swayed his decision. "Thadk you," nodded Wesley, his stomach rumbling with hunger he'd been trying his best to ignore.


     "Good." Giles smiled. "Then why don't you go wash up and I'll start cooking. Shall I put on a pot of tea in the meantime?"


     "Ohyesblease," Wesley sighed in one word, without having to think about that one. Not wanting to give Giles his cold, Wesley moved in for a hug only, but Giles did not seem overly worried and kissed him all the same, except with the addition of a few comforting strokes of his hand against the back of Wesley's head.


      Despite his fatigue, Wesley went to wash up for the meal, if only to be sure he got all the demon blood off himself. He changed his shirt and undershirt, as well as retrieved a few handkerchiefs.


     Then he joined Giles, sitting down at his relatively small table that stood at the edge of the incredibly small kitchen. He took his tea just as it was, and held it in both hands even when not drinking it in order to absorb the warmth through the mug. The only time he set it down and took his hands away was when he needed to sneeze. He kept a handkerchief out and unfolded on his thigh, so he could reach down at a second's realization and have it to his face before his nose twitched a second time. Wesley had to blow his nose occasionally, but did so by turning and curling in on himself a little to try to muffle the terrible sound.


     "heyyShhuhhh! hihhTSchuhhhh!" And rarely did the sneezes come alone. On the rare occasion that there was a single one, it was still accompanied by all sorts of tickles and sniffles and coughs. In fact, he probably did more sneezing than tea drinking. The level of tea in his cup dropped very slowly as he waited for Giles to finish the soup. Its warmth was nearly enough to make him forget about eating altogether and nod off right then and there "ehhhGSchphhhh! hehh... ehhh-Hishhphhhh! Eh-hehhhh... Sniff! HEHGShuhhh!" were it not for the sneezes, of course.


     "You really do have a bad cold, don't you?" Giles said from his place at the stove where he was continuously stirring the soup. He pulled off his glasses and massaged his eyes with thumb and forefinger, especially rubbing at the bridge of his nose. He replaced his glasses as he spoke. "Are you sure you're up for soup, even? If you'd rather just go to bed, I can put this away to heat up another time."


     Wesley tried to smile encouragingly. "If I cad haddle debods, I cad haddle your soub."


     After ladling helpings of the soup into two bowls, Giles took a seat at the table across from Wesley and bid him to tell about his latest adventure. Wesley was always eager to share the good stories, even if they contained some less remarkable moments. "But with by dose all stuffy, they all thought I said 'back of bartadul' add started to target... well, you get it."


     Giles did indeed, and was laughing quite heartily. Not only was it that a Bartadul was an actual type of demon, but Bartaduls could actually be killed with a blow to its back.


     Even Wesley laughed a little even though, "It wasd't so abusig at the- the tibe- hahh..." He was quick with the handkerchief this time. "ehhh-Ehh'KShphhhh!" He was thrown forward, into the table, and winced slightly as he righted himself again, sniffling wetly into the folds of his handkerchief.


     "Poor Wesley," Giles sighed, taking his empty soup bowl. "You can handle another small helping, can't you?"


     Wesley shook his head. Now that his stomach was full and his body putting what little energy he had into digesting it, all he could think about doing was going to bed. "ehhhH'GSchhhhh!" And getting a fresh handkerchief. "Thadk you, bud doe," Wesley said in-between snuffles into his handkerchief. He crumpled it up and gave a light cough. He'd put it off long enough, but now it was time to resort to being his normal, logical self. "I really thidk I should be id bed."


     And, before he knew it, that's precisely where he was, being tucked in and having Giles lying beside him with a hot water bottle between them. Wesley immediately snuggled into Giles' side, avoiding the cold compress Giles had on his forehead to help with his headache. Wesley had offered to sleep out on the couch for the night, but Giles would hear none of it and had directed him straight to bed.


     "hehhh-hehhShphhh! ehhhShhmphhh!" Wesley sneezed into one of the clean handkerchiefs he'd set aside for himself. "ehhhGShhphhhh! Oh... excuse be, sniff, sniff!" He buried his face into the handkerchief and then curled up a little to use Giles' body to hide himself as he blew his nose.


     Giles put his hand to the washcloth on his forehead and applied a little pressure there, then wrapped his other arm around Wesley in a hug. "We make quite a sad pair tonight, don't we?"


     Nodding, Wesley pressed his handkerchief to his nose and held it there to keep his nose from running as he worked on falling asleep. "This certadly isd't what I exbected out of life whed I started at the acadeby."


     Giles chuckled lightly and massaged Wesley's shoulder. "After all we've been through lately a touch of normality should be a welcome change."


     Wesley sniffled and nodded. He had reached the same conclusion, however he still would have liked normal better had it not been accompanied by so many sniffles and aches and just included snuggling in bed with Giles.