Five Riffs On The Theme Of Intimacy In The Jossverse
by Selena Ulrich

1. Anne/Gunn

It was like some liberal Hollywood vision made real. Every day the two of them, working together and smiling as kids arrived and kids left; some of them in better shape than before, others...not so lucky. But still they worked at it, a perfectly synchronised team, with Den Mother Anne protecting her young and Pack Leader Gunn introducing a little firm fairness wherever Anne's trust went too far. At night they would lock up once the paperwork was done and go back to their tiny apartment to eat Chinese and snuggle together on the sofa watching TV, the perfect happy example of a successful mixed-race couple.

But every so often something real would appear. Something in a look or a smile, like the traditional secret signals of a happy couple. Only with teeth. And if one of them woke suddenly in the night, the other would too, and they would always let each other talk, feeling their way through the horrors that they both knew were much realer than they had any right to be. And eventually they would reach a conclusion, and a decision would be made and they would both settle back down to sleep, preparing for whatever hard actions the next day would bring so that they could face them secure in the knowledge that, right or wrong, they were in it together.

Which was all that mattered, really.


2. Fred/Harmony

For Fred the greatest epiphany came the day she realised the best way to shut Harmony up was to kiss her. Hard. It left the blonde flustered and so insecure that she would stop mid-inanity and simply pick up her papers and leave, which was probably not that great a thing to do in the middle of a board meeting but then neither had been kissing the boss's PA and she could let herself off that one simply by remembering the look on everybody's faces - even Eve had looked slightly surprised. It hadn't been long before she was doing it all the time, whether Harmony was speaking or not, and it was only a short step from there to bringing the vampire secretary home every night, where they would wordlessly undress and fall into bed and a familiar pattern of touching and kissing and stroking, punctuated only by moments of intense unvanilla fucking that would have surprised both of them if they had ever stopped to think about it. The only time anything was said was during Harmony's third visit when she had propped herself up on an elbow and said with a nervous frown

"Y'know, this doesn't mean I'm in love with you or anything."

To which Fred had simply smiled, nodded and replied "But that doesn't mean you'd rather be anywhere else now, does it."

It hadn't seemed necessary to talk after that.


3. Ethan/Dawn

While Ethan would admit his life so far had been eventful, even for a follower of Janus, this recent turn was maybe taking matters a step too far. Granted he appreciated being pulled out of that government lab but he found the attitude of his rescuer (one Miss Dawn Summers) more than a little stuffy and had laughed openly when she demanded his help in going with her to fix cosmic problems in some half-arsed attempt to maintain karmic balance. Of course it had been then that the bitch had revealed that if he didn't help the newly-reformed Watchers' Council would strip his powers before promptly releasing enough false evidence to have him locked up in Guantanamo Bay for at least three lifetimes. So he had resigned himself to the situation, pausing only to take the first opportunity that had arisen to indulge in a bit of good old-fashioned sexual humiliation of the girl. Which didn't go as well as he had expected. To wit:

The first time he had tried anything she had screamed molestation.

The second time, she had bucked and taken his cock right to the hilt and he had almost come immediately with surprise.

After that it became almost a routine - find new town, sort out problem, try to take sexual advantage of Dawn, suffer the consequences in a manner that managed every time to be both different and startlingly original. Even if he could have walked away he wouldn't have, for the course of chaos has never run true and he knew that Janus smiled on those that nurtured it wherever it was found, even if it was in the heart and smile of an otherwise prissy young Watcher. And of course by the time he had dealt with whatever new humiliation Miss Summers had decided to inflict upon him they were already well on their way to the next place with the threat of powerlessness and imprisonment safely hanging above him if he dared disobey.

The worst part of it all was that he wasn't entirely sure he was disappointed.


4. Giles/Andrew

There were two reasons why Rupert Giles was never going to grab Andrew by the lapels and scream at him 'For God's sake man, come out already; you're as queer as a three-dollar bill!'. Firstly, even after six years in the States he still refused to stoop to such very American slang. And secondly, he was deeply in love with the young man, which was a Very Bad Thing Indeed. Not because of the age difference, although the fact that it was more than twenty years was startling enough in itself, but because of the responsibility. Giles was the first to admit that he had never been very good at being responsible, especially where other people's emotions were involved, and the young man had been through so much already trying to find his own identity that Giles wasn't going to muddy the waters further by changing his role from mentor to lover.

Still, that didn't mean he had to act like he was made of bloody stone around the boy. After all, there was no doubt that Andrew was a natural Watcher, and after all these years it was nice to finally have someone around who actually understood his role automatically, who could produce the books without asking, plan solutions to problems before they even arose, and occasionally share a smile over the sort of in-joke that would have had Buffy making some pithy Californian comment about him needing to get a life. So what if their hands touched occasionally or he felt Andrew's warmth as they tried to squeeze past one another while looking for reference books? They both knew nothing would come of it so there was nothing wrong with the occasional accidental moment.

Was there?


5. Buffy/Willow/Xander

The only real surprise was how long it had taken them to think of it. After all, if they had just formed a...OK, trio just sounded silly and 'couple' was just plain wrong...but if they had decided to get together at the start it would have saved them and countless others almost three years of emotional turmoil. Still, they hadn't, and it was only with the arrival of college and the realisation that they were drifting apart that someone (Xander) had made a joke about it and them someone else (Willow) had given it some thought, and, well, here they were. It didn't matter that it wasn't perfect; that Willow looked more at Buffy, Buffy more at Xander, and Xander at either Riley or his comic book collection. The fact was that it worked; that Xander could smile at Buffy, or Buffy stroke Willow's hair, and in one simple gesture they could sum up depths of emotion that few others were lucky enough to share.

Now if they could only learn to colour-co-ordinate their outfits as well...


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