Title: Gift for Nermal

Author: tarotgal

Fandom: Buffy tvs/Angel ts

Pairing: Wesley/Giles

Rating: PG

Disclaimer: These characters and their world are as not mine as they could possibly get.

Summary: When Giles comes for a visit, Wesley reluctantly comes down with a head cold.

Notes: Written for Nermal for the winter holidays, 2004



Gift for Nermal


     His head still tilted down towards the books, Wesley glanced around. Cordelia had her back turned and Angel was looking away as well. He seized the opportunity to pull out his handkerchief and give his terribly runny nose a few good rubs. It twitched against the fabric and he resisted the urge to sneeze. Good, old fashioned will power won out, and he tucked the handkerchief away before any of his associates noticed its presence.


     "So," said Cordelia said, spinning around and smiling pleasantly. She looked over the pile of books and papers covering the desk behind which Wesley was currently sitting. "Considering we have no cases at present and I haven't had a head-splitting vision since that one last week that made me spill coffee all over my favorite red shoes... does anyone here have any plans for the weekend that don't involve staring at old books?" She looked over at Angel. "Or brooding in a dark basement?"


     Silently Angel and Wesley exchanged looks. Then they both turned to her with a simultaneous "No."


     Cordelia sighed and collected her purse and jacket. "All right then. I'm going home. I suppose it is up to me to be the sole example of normality around here."


     "Don't have plans tonight either?" Angel asked casually as he went through a stack of files that needed to be filed.


     "Just bubble baths and chatting up my dead roommate," she replied quickly and with a shrug. She pulled on her pea coat and did up the two front buttons.


     Wesley smiled and pushed back in his chair. "I should probably get going as well. It is growing late and I..." How to finish that sentence made him uncertain, but he was unable to finish even if he had found the words. "hahhhhh..." Making a quick decision not to go for his handkerchief, lest it look as though he was prepared for the sneeze, he simply turned and cupped his hand to his face. "hahhh-IMMShuhhh!" A slight bit of pressure filled his ears when he half-stifled his sneeze. He breathed out unsteadily and forced a smile. "Pardon." He sniffled and scrubbed a finger beneath his nose.


     "You all right, Wes?" Angel asked. Perhaps he sensed something, or perhaps he was simply concerned. Either way, he moved towards Wesley.


     "Just fine," Wesley said in his best convincing impression. "Must be all these dusty old volumes getting to me. A sign that I should be getting home, I think." His nose was running again and needed to be blow or at least wiped. It tickled as it ran, and it was all he could do to not lift his hand and wipe his nose. He sniffed softly, so softly that it was noiseless. His nostrils flared slightly as he inhaled deeply through his nose just long enough to keep it from running visibly. It still tickled madly.


     "Wow," said Cordelia, checking her watch and sounding impressed, albeit exaggeratedly. "Not even eight o'clock and he's heading home. That's the strangest thing that's happened all day."


     "Yes, well..." Wesley thought it would sound far too cliché to say that he had someone waiting for him at home. Not to mention that he did not need to be asked questions about that. The last thing he wanted was for Angel to jump to the wrong conclusions when he found out Buffy's watcher was in town for the weekend.


     "Go on, get out of here," Angel said, waving at them dismissively and sliding the last file into the file cabinet, then shutting the drawer. "I'll call you if something comes up."


     Cordelia was already on her way out as Wesley nodded and gathered his things, slipping some of his books and papers into his briefcase and picking up his jacket.




      Dinner, like most of the afternoon at work, was miraculously sneeze-less for Wesley. The urge presented itself several times, but he was able to will it away or discretely rub it away each time. If Giles had noticed how many times Wesley had lifted his hand and rubbed at his runny nose, he said nothing about it. Instead, they enjoyed a dinner together which was full of good food and stimulating conversation.


     Afterwards, they settled on the couch together, enjoying tea and each other's touches alike. Wesley lounged back against Giles, tilting his head to the side to rest it comfortably in the space between Giles' jaw and shoulder.


     He rubbed a finger against his nose and sniffled silently, a talent he had perfected during dinner. Though his self control was good at keeping the sneezes at bay, it could do nothing to help the way his nose ran. And, once in a while, even he could not prevent a sneeze from striking. He could feel one tickling the back of his nose now. Wesley cleared his throat. "Can I get you more tea?" he asked Giles hopefully.


     Giles chuckled lightly. "Though it is lovely tea, I believe three cups was sufficient for me tonight."


     "Ah. Yes." Wesley said quickly with a nod. He looked down at the tea in his mug and swirled it around. "It is a special blend of three different teas. Whenever I feel a bit homesick I try to perfect it." He took a long sip, hoping the remaining bit of steam might soothe the tickle in his nose. It did not. "I'm not certain I have it quite right yet." He sniffled again, hoping it would be silent, but his nose was growing worse and the sound was wet. He cleared his throat and pretended it had been intentional. "Perhaps another helping of dessert? I think I might have some of those butter mints," he suggested hopefully.


     Giles shook his head. "No thank you. I am full."


     Wesley pulled away from Giles as the tickle continued to build in his nose. He rubbed at his nose again. He shifted in his seat, preoccupied and worrying. What he wanted was to have a nice, quiet evening together. It was not often that their adventures permitted visits, and wanted this one to go as well as it possibly could. But the tickle was relentless. Relentless and sudden. "hahhh-hahh-AHShhhh!" He sniffed and rubbed his finger hard against his nose as he looked up and back at Giles. "Sorry about that."


     Giles shrugged it off and set his empty teacup on the coffee table. Then he went to put his arm around Wesley again to draw him close.


     Wesley smiled back at him, then his nose twitched. He pressed a finger beneath his nose and closed his eyes. One sneeze had been quite enough. If Giles had not been suspicious about his sniffling, he certainly could not have overlooked the sneeze. But should a whole fit of sneezing strike, Wesley was sure he would not be able to explain that away. His nostrils quivered against his finger and he pinched his nose closed instead. Though his nose was not yet showing physical signs of soreness, Wesley was sure it soon would and pinching it hurt slightly. And still the tickles remained. Wesley was beginning to feel desperate and Giles was starting to look at him concernedly. "I..." He tried to explain. "I... ahhh! Oh." His breath hitched. "Ohdear-hahh-EhShhhhhh! HehhhShihhh!" He shook with each sneeze and each tossed his forward in place. "ehhhShhhhh! hehhSchhhh! Ehhhh-AHShhhh! ehhhHushhhh!" Deciding he was in desperate need of it, Wesley managed to pull his handkerchief out to catch the last few sneezes. "ehhh-HIHChffff!  Ehhh... ihhh-hahhShfffff!" Feeling the tickle leave at last, he sniffed heartily and pushed his glasses back into place as they had become askew while sneezing. As far as sneezing fits went, this one had been relatively mild.


     Nonetheless, it was difficult to miss. Though Wesley was used to appearing flustered, he did not easily blush. But after those sneezes, his cheeks had turned a bright pink. "Suppose I should have gone for that tea after all," he whispered. He coughed a few times and down the rest of his tea. He did not need to look up to realize Giles was staring at him critically, awaiting an explanation. He cleared his throat. "I'm sorry. I believe I've caught a bit of a cold in my nose." Getting no immediate response from Giles and feeling awkward, he started to get up.


     Giles held him back with a gentle hand on his shoulder. He looked upon Wesley with sympathy and worry alike. "Why did you not tell me earlier you were feeling unwell?"


     "I'm sorry," Wesley said, shrugging. "I had so hoped to be a good host this weekend." He shifts uncomfortably even as Giles' hand on his shoulder began to massage.


     Noticing his distress, Giles inquired as to why Wesley would put their visit over his own health.


     The flush in Wesley's cheeks was not helped by that question. "Well, I only... I... ahhh--" He frowned as his breath caught. He took in a few silent, sharp gasps, then pitched forward again. His nose, buried in the handkerchief, muffled the sound. "ehhh-HShhhffff!" His nose was terribly full and runny now, and he quickly weighed the options concerning blowing. As he coughed and something pounded in his ears, he decided there was nothing for it and gave a half-hearted blow. It sounded far worse than he had expected and did little to abate the runniness or tickles he felt deep within his nose again.


     Giles rubbed both his shoulders now, finding them full of tension and needing a good rubbing. "So, you were saying?"


     Wesley should have realized he would not be able to have to question dropped so easily. And, as he tried to answer, he thought of Cordy's words earlier, the ones about how he seemed to have no life and would spend the night with his books. "As I've only just recently settled here, I don't have any friends outside of work yet," Wesley started to explain. He left out the bit about not looking for any such friends. "I do not do much of anything apart from work. And I had hoped this weekend and your visit would be different."


     "There is no reason it cannot be," Giles said, sounding much more upbeat than Wesley had.


     Wesley blew his nose again in answer. "I'm ill now," he said. "Won't be able to do anything special with you, unless there's a position for an expert in lying in bed sniffling." Giles pulled him close again. And though Wesley was still, he did not object. "I cannot show you a good time." Giles tilted his head, moving close to kiss Wesley. Wesley turned his head away. "And you shouldn't kiss me or you might get sick." He cleared his throat. "You should probably go, in fact. No use in staying and risking your health on my account."


     "I'm not going anywhere," Giles said kindly, petting the back of Wesley's head. "What is the worst that can happen if I stay? I could catch this cold of yours and spend the next week with a sniffle in my nose. A cold is hardly life-threatening and Buffy will not mind if I'm a little sniffly."


     Curious and slightly suspicious at that, Wesley raised an eyebrow. Giles shrugged rather innocently, bluntly. Wesley cleared his through. "Still, I am terribly sorry about this. I shan't make a very good companion." Perhaps from his emotional distress, his voice cracked and he forced a few coughs to clear it again.


     Giles shook his head. "I shall enjoy your company just the same. The only difference is a few extra sneezes which only means I will have to give you some extra care. Starting with that fourth cup of tea and then progressing to some warm snuggling."


     Wesley smiled weakly in appreciation as Giles' arms wrapped around him and squeezed comfortingly. He felt himself practically melt into the other man and he sighed deeply with a smile. Wesley allowed himself to be moved over to the bedroom. He stripped down while Giles put out a change of pajamas. And by the time Wesley had crawled beneath the covers, Giles was right beside him with a fresh hanky and a steaming cup of herbal tea.


     Quite thankful that Giles had not fled and rather relieved that Giles had such a warm bedside manner, Wesley let the man snuggle and cuddle him close, and even wipe his nose when it ran. Somehow Giles seemed to know when it was running and somehow Giles was able to rub it so gently without hurting. And when he needed to sneeze and his body tensed up, Giles only hugged him more tightly.


     When Giles got up to return the empty teacup to the kitchen, he returned with one of the books from Wesley's briefcase. He slid beneath the covers and resumed his cuddling of Wesley. He turned the book and regarded the spine. "I've never actually seen a copy of this volume. Wherever did you locate it?"


     Wesley smiled at the memory of that particular acquisition. "We were turned onto a nest of Ingta'ar demons. Sniff! When we... when... arrived..." Wesley shook his head, unable to continue for the tickle in the back of his nose. Giles pressed the handkerchief into his hand and Wesley held it just in front of his face. He breathed into it heavily as the tickle settled in the tip of his nose and a strong urge struck in the back. "hehhhh... hahh... hahh-ISchhhhhhh! heh-ihh-hum-yeh-YEhtchhhhh!" He breathed out deeply, then in just as deeply, before blowing his nose.


     "When you arrived?" Sounding interested, Giles kindly reminded him of the place he had left off.


     Grateful, Wesley resumed. "Yes, when we arrived we found the place swarming with demonic priests. They put up quite a fight but of course we defeated them. And it turns out they had a number of very interesting texts in their possession." He cleared his voice, which was starting to sound a bit scratchy again. "Earlier tonight I was trying to make my way through the translations on the bottom of page thirty."


     Giles flipped to the spot at once and ran a finger along the margin beside the passage. "Hmm." He nodded and read a bit of it out loud. Then, slowly and carefully, he translated what he could. Wesley interjected with a word now and again, but mostly he just lay there in Giles' arms and listened to the man's voice. He was slightly amused that even with a visiting lover and a nasty head cold, he was still spending the night as Cordelia had predicted- going through old books.