What The Living Do
by Kyra Cullinan

They sleep in the library sometimes. Nights when they get done patrolling so late that going home through darkened streets would be suicide, or at least pointless in the few hours before dawn and another school day. Time to get bandaged up and regroup. They crash on the floor in Giles' office or under the library table, tangled together like puppies, and Oz wonders idly if other people think in so many animal metaphors.

It's natural, though, and comforting, in a way, to wake in a pile of arms and legs and warm, breathing flesh. Larry and Nancy and him, in various combinations. Sunlight streaming through the high windows and sometimes the sounds and smell of Giles puttering around making tea. It's good, like most things aren't these days, and if Oz wakes to a big hand on his chest or a morning erection against his thigh, that's okay too. Familiar, because Larry is one of the few people these days left from Oz's elementary school years, and there's something about the way he smiles sideways at Oz when they've just dusted a vamp. Enough that it seems all right the first time Oz leans back into it and moves ever so slightly, his eyes still closed. Receives an almost inaudible gasp for his efforts, and does it again, feeling Larry harden against the small of his back. And this is ... different, but familiar, too, and surprisingly good, the way Larry's hand tightens on his arm. He likes hearing the sudden quickness of breath and knowing he's what's caused it.

Giles bangs out ofthe library and down the hall to the teacher's lounge and Oz turns over. Only the two of them there today, and Larry is looking at him with eyes a little scared and a lot excited.

"This okay?" Oz murmurs, and Larry exhales shakily.

"Oh yeah," he says, and then they're kissing. Lightly for an instant, lips just touching, and then it's hot and hard and amazing, shooting straight to his own cock, which twitches and stiffens in response. Larry is stubblerough against his face and this is different too, but it doesn't at all stop Oz from reaching down to cradle the solid, sure bulge through Larry's jeans.

So this is how it starts. Frantic groping sessions in the back of Oz's van and blowjobs in the stacks. Larry volunteers for wolf duty most full moons and slips into the cage to wake Oz in the mornings, big hands sweeping across his naked limbs.

Giles knows, Oz thinks; something about how he looks at them when they show up to patrol. Almost wistfully, and Oz only notices because it's so rare to see anything but desperation on Giles' face these days.

Desperation because things are getting worse. They don't talk about it, but Oz can add, counting the empty desks in home room. More every week, and fewer faces in the hallways. He remembers when things weren't this bad, but it seems an awfully long time ago. On bad nights when they've had to bury someone else and Giles is halfway through a bottle of whiskey, he talks bitterly about how things could be better, cursing his Council for blindness, for failing to send them help.

But Oz doesn't think much about the what-ifs. Life is this now, daydreaming his way through classes and white-hatting at night and sleeping with a football player in all the in-between minutes. That steady, sure presence of Larry beside him through everything, staking vamps and kissing him dizzy, while the world falls down around them.


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