This takes place after the series finale and everything is as it was in "Buffy" however "Angel" took a different path, what I have no idea but feel free to improvise. Buffy is bitch in this, she's not a huge part in the story she's just there to piss everyone off. There is also slash, and oh everyone is probably out of character so if you don't like any of those things I suggest finding something else to read. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the story!

Trauma

Xander's hands shook violently as he tried to undo his trousers. A broken sob escaped his lips, even as he tried to keep it down. The button of his trousers slipped through his fingers again.

'Xander?' the warm, concerned voice was accompanied by a warm hand.

'It should've been me,' he whimpered as he clenched his fists hard enough for his blunt nails to dig into his palms.

'Xander,' the voice said again, there was an arm attached to the hand and it pulled him against a warm body.

He gave up trying to undo his pants and clung to the shirt that belonged to the arm.

'That's it,' the voice soothed as the hand rubbed his back.

He sobbed brokenly into the shoulder he had buried himself in.

Giles closed his eyes against the pain as he held Xander tightly.

It had been three days since Sunnydale had collapsed and they were still in a dusty hotel halfway between Sunnyhole and Hell-A.

The first two days everyone had spent sleeping or healing and today they had gone back to the site, not that it had done much good but it seemed to have helped them in some way. Tomorrow they would all head to LA.

Xander sniffled and pulled away, 'sorry,' he mumbled as he wiped his nose on his sleeve.

'Xander, look at me,' Giles commanded, when he noticed that he was looking anywhere but at Giles.

Reluctantly he met Giles' soft gaze, 'it's alright,' he offered, his own eyes wet and red.

Xander gave him a half-hearted smile, 'do you want to first?' he asked waving to the bathroom.

'Go ahead,' Giles offered softly.

Xander bobbed his head and headed into the bathroom.

When Giles emerged from the bathroom he found Xander sketching something.

'I can't get it right,' he said not looking up from his sketch.

'Get what?' Giles asked as he folded his towel over the only chair in the room.

Suddenly Xander crumpled the paper and tossed it on the floor with the rest of the crumpled papers, 'Her hair, she always changed it and it's not co-operating,' he stated as he began anew.

Giles glanced at Xander as he bent to pick up one of the crumpled papers and he was furiously etching on the paper.

Giles unravelled the paper and found a rather detailed sketch of Anya, the hair had been erased several times. As Xander worked Giles retrieved the other sketches, he was surprised to find about six of them.

'Xander, what are you doing?' he asked as he sat next to him.

'I can't- I lost all of them, I have to remember, I can't forget,' Xander managed not looking away from his latest attempt.

'Xander, stop,' Giles said, resting his hand gently on Xander's hand that was clutching the paper tightly. Xander crumpled up the paper with one hand and tossed it aside with a frustrated grunt.

'You don't need to do this,' Giles stated, grabbing Xander's other hand before he could start again. He had thought that Xander's outburst earlier would have helped him, but apparently not.

Xander whimpered.

'Stop, Xander,' Giles said softly, gently taking the writing implements from Xander.

'No,' he made a weak grab for them, 'please, I can't forget her,' he pleaded.

'And you won't,' Giles stated emphatically, 'she will always be with you,' he added sympathetically. Xander cried out in dismay, and Giles covered Xander's heart with his hand, 'she is here and she will always be in here,' he stated.

Xander grabbed at Giles as he curled into him.

When Xander woke he was still curled into Giles. He didn't freak and he didn't pull away, he simply relished the feeling of being held. It had been a long time since he'd been with Anya and while they were working on things, they hadn't had sex or slept together since before the wedding that didn't happen, and Xander hadn't been able to make himself want anyone else.

'How are you feeling?' Giles asked, not moving from his potion wrapped around Xander.

'Like I got the best sleep ever last night, and that I made a complete fool of myself yesterday,' he replied.

Giles gave a soft chuckle, 'you didn't, make a fool of yourself yesterday, I mean.'

'Sorry,' Xander gave a sigh as he moved to get up.

'No need to apologize. It happens to the best of us,' he offered as he pulled Xander close, 'if you're comfortable, we don't have to move,' he offered softly, almost shyly.

It was Xander's turn to chuckle softly, 'thanks but I really need the head,' he said as he pulled out of Giles arms, 'really, thank you,' he stated.

Giles simply gave him a small smile and a nod before he entered the bathroom.

They spent about a month at the Hyperion, helping Angel and his gang. Eventually though Buffy couldn't be around Angel and Wesley, she still wasn't over Angel. She and Dawn had a yelling match in the lobby about moving Buffy wanted to Dawn didn't, at least not to Rome with the giant tosser that Buffy had hooked up with in an effort to make Angel jealous.

'You hardly know the guy Buffy!' Dawn yelled back, Buffy having demanded that Dawn start packing immediately.

'You're coming with me Dawn, so just go pack,' Buffy hissed through her teeth.

'No, I am not moving to Rome just because you're having sex with tall, dark and immortal,' Dawn replied overly calm.

'If you aren't coming with me, then where are you staying?' she demanded, crossing her arms across her chest.

Dawn glared at her sister, 'Cordelia already said I could stay at her place, Angel offered me a room here, Giles said I could go back with him to England, I'm not as lacking in help as you think I am,' she growled.

'You are not staying with these faggots,' Buffy scoffed but before she could finish everyone gathered had bristled at her declaration.

Angel had a tight grip on her arm, and her boyfriend had her other arm, as they steered her out of the hotel, 'you should go before you miss your flight,' he hissed, 'we'll take care of Dawn.'

Buffy and her boyfriend disappeared into the night. Dawn launched herself at Giles, she was in tears as she pleaded with him to take her to England.

Giles had agreed readily, he had been trying to talk to Buffy about Dawn for several weeks, but Buffy had kept changing the subject or avoiding it altogether.

It had finally been settled and Giles was strangely looking forward to going home, to England.

It had taken a few days and Angel's help but finally he had tickets for himself and Dawn and she had a passport.

Xander found Giles packing what little clothing he had acquired in the month he had been in LA.

'Can I help you with something?' Giles asked, slightly amused at the nervous shifting Xander was doing in the doorway.

'No,' Xander shook his head, 'I was just, I just wanted to say... um, Thank you, you know, for letting... for helping me, for being there and listening,' he finally blurted. Giles had listened to Xander babble countless times over the last month as he regaled the former watcher with stories of Anya, and high school, and whatever else the young man wanted to talk about. Giles rarely spoke during these conversations but he would occasionally ask about something that Xander hadn't mentioned because he got distracted by another story or event that he wanted to share.

'You're welcome,' Giles replied as zipped up the bag that Wesley had given him. He straightened and turned to Xander, leaving the bag on the bed, 'have you got any plans?'

Xander shook his head, 'not really no, Angel, he's got, this place is falling apart around his ears, he offered to let me stay and fix the place up...' he replied, trailing off awkwardly, he had already started and finished several small jobs.

Giles watched Xander fidget awkwardly again, 'would you like to come with us?' he asked, slightly hesitantly.

'I can't, I just, I'd be a burden, and useless, and you never wanted me,' he babbled as he looked away from Giles.

'Xander!' Giles almost shouted, as he cupped Xander's face. 'Xander!' he snapped his fingers in front of Xander's face. Xander blinked, 'you are not a burden, and you are not useless, I do want you, I think you'd be a great asset to the shop I've got in Bath, there's a group of older ladies that would love you,' he said with a grin.

'Sorry,' Xander gave him an embarrassed grin, 'Anya always said I had parental issues or something.'

'Parental?' Giles asked, he was the first to admit that he hadn't paid enough attention to Buffy's friends, placing her ahead of the others.

Xander nodded but didn't say anything, he let Giles pull him into the room and sit him on the bed.

'I admit that I wasn't the best parental figure, and I'm sorry I wasn't there for you like I was for Buffy,' Giles offered sitting next to him.

Xander shrugged, 'you had bigger problems to deal with, like the end of the world once or twice,' he offered with a sardonic grin.

'You're more than welcome to join Dawn and me in Bath,' he reiterated.

'You mean that?' Xander asked, hoping he didn't sound as desperate as he was.

Giles nodded, 'I do, I want you to come with us, I know Dawn would love for you to come,' he added nudging Xander's shoulder with his.

'I should, Angel wants...' he started, he was going to say no he had things to do here, he had to stay but he didn't, Angel had only offered if he had nothing else, but he did, he had Giles' offer to go to England. He could start again, he started to nod. 'Yeah that would be good, great, fantastic, thank you but,'

'But nothing,' Giles stopped him, 'Dawn and I can wait until you have what you need,' he offered.

'Everything I have is in a bag that Angel bought for me when he dropped four hundred dollars on clothes for me,' Xander replied a little bitterly.

'Four hundred?' Giles blurted, 'I only got one fifty,' he pouted.

'I went with Cordelia,' Xander explained, Giles gave a laugh.

'Which means the most expensive things she can find,' he said.

'She doesn't listen to anyone at all,' Xander offered.

'No, she doesn't,' Giles agreed, 'do you have a passport?' he asked changing the subject.

Xander leaned over and pulled something from his pocket, 'it's even real,' he said tossing it to Giles lap.

'So is mine,' he replied defiantly, causing Xander to laugh.

'Thank you, Giles,' Xander said, leaning gently against the older man.

'You're welcome,' he offered as he gave Xander's shoulders a gentle squeeze.

Angel was sad to see Xander go, though he was the first to say that he was disappointed that nothing would get fixed now, but he also understood, he understood Xander's need to be away.

'If you ever need a working holiday or you feel your skills are going rusty, feel free to drop by, I'm sure there will be something for you to do,' Angel offered surprising everyone by pulling Xander into a hug.

Xander nodded, 'I'll keep that in mind, but don't hold your breath Cordy,' he replied giving the young woman a cheeky grin.

She grumbled good-naturedly and hugged him again.

Dawn and Xander had spent most of the plane ride making fun of the movie and all the passengers that weren't in ear shot while Giles opted not to watch the movie, but tried to read. But he was too focused on Xander, realising how grown up he could seem but also how much like the teenager he had first met he still was.

They managed to settle and get Dawn enrolled in school, she had one term left, and Xander took a course in business management. They could often be found crowded around the table in the shop or at home, doing their respective homework.

Giles had surprised both of them with their own laptops, Dawn's a deep fuchsia and Xander's an emerald green.

'I so get the computer first,' Dawn blurted as soon as the pair burst into the front door.

'Oh no, you don't! I call rank, I'm older, I get it first,' Xander shot back as he hoisted her up, spun around and set her down, before running for the computer. Both stopped short when they spotted two brightly wrapped packages sitting on the dining room table.

'Giles?' Dawn called out, curious and slightly concerned. She had grown up on the Hellmouth, large, brightly coloured packages didn't just appear on tables.

Xander, however, had stepped forward and was caressing the shiny silver paper, 'it's so shiny,' he whispered.

'Giles!' Dawn called a little more frantically. Xander always had a weak spot for shiny objects.

Giles finally emerged from the kitchen, drying his hands on a blue towel.

'What is it?' he asked concerned but not concerned enough to arm himself.

'Those,' she pointed to the packages, as she tried to stop herself from hiding behind Giles.

Giles chuckled, 'I bought those,' he gave her a hug, 'congratulations,' he offered to both of them. 'Do you want to be alone Xander?' he asked in amusement as Xander continued to caress the paper.

'Yes, please,' Xander replied absently.

'You can open it you know.'

'Shh,' Xander put a finger to his lips as he pressed his ear to the package.

'Oh, for the love of shiny things,' Dawn sighed and tore into the paper that had her name on it. As soon as she did Xander did as well.

'Giles?' Dawn held the box to her chest possessively as she stared at Giles with tears in her eyes. Suddenly she was hugging him, the box between them.

'You're both doing so well, I thought a gift was appropriate,' he stammered awkwardly, what with a box corner pressing into his sternum.

Xander started laughing, 'you got tired of us arguing over who got the desktop first,' he stated.

Giles pulled off his glasses and started to clean them, 'yes well, can you blame me?' he asked and frowned when Dawn started to giggle as well.

'Thank you,' Xander offered and had the grace to not hug Giles while still holding a laptop box.

'You're welcome,' Giles offered.

'Now we can all sit in the same room and instant message each other,' Xander stated as he pulled his green unit from the box.

'Instant what?' Giles asked, setting off Dawn giggling again as Xander gave a long suffering sigh very much like the ones Giles still gave on occasion.

It had been a year since they had come to England. Wesley and Angel, who had found his shanshu, had come to visit, namely so Angel could show off the tan he had acquired whilst living in the sun. He even had a broken thumb he had gotten while trying to do his own repairs.

Willow, who had stayed in LA to help Angel, had called several times, just to talk, she and Kennedy, hadn't lasted long and she was currently taking care of Spike, who had somehow returned from the dead, both kinds of dead. He was human and wasn't Spike and he was but he was also William and he kind of reminded Willow of Tara and he was getting better. Xander had deciphered the excited Willow speak for Dawn and Giles as Willow had a crush on Spike who had all the good parts of Spike and all the good parts of William, he was on the mend and hopefully they would eventually be Will and Will.

Xander heaved a sigh, the third in as many minutes, and shifted.

'Is something bothering you?' Giles asked, the pair were watching a movie, well Giles was, Xander was staring at the screen. Dawn was out for the night, staying over at a friend's house.

'No,' he replied instantly, 'yes,' he dropped his head back, 'I don't know,' he sighed again. Giles reached for the remote to pause the film.

'Xander,' Giles patiently stated as he tried to read Xander, he had been doing pretty well at it, and the boy seemed to be healing. He could talk of Anya and Sunnydale without getting hysterical or broody now, something that Giles was grateful for, especially if the way he felt about the younger man was anything to go by. He had watched Xander heal and had seen the light return to Xander's eyes, there were moments that they weren't quite as bright but Giles couldn't fault him his moments of remembrance. They began to flirt, well Giles began to flirt with Xander who began to flirt back. It had been innocent fun, much like Dawn and Xander did when they were out and Dawn wanted to make some boy jealous, but eventually it grew deeper. Giles was at a loss as to what he should do.

Xander tried several times to say something, but he stammered unintelligibly, even to Giles' trained ear. Then, suddenly, he surged up off the couch and was kissing Giles. That had come out of nowhere, was Giles' only thought.

When Giles didn't react Xander pulled away, already stammering apologies as he hastily scrambling away.

Giles had to think for a moment, which was moment too long because Xander thought he was rejecting him.

'I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have, I'll go pack, I'll be out tomorrow, stupid, stupid Xander,' the last part was directed to himself as he smacked himself.

The fleshy smack seemed to pull Giles from wherever he had been, and he grabbed Xander's arms to stop the punishment.

He pulled Xander close and kissed him, it took a moment for Xander to respond and when he did there was a hitch in the kiss before he deepened it.

Neither one knew how long they sat on the floor, making out like teenagers but Giles had to get up because his arse was sore.

Wordlessly, they helped each other back to the couch and Xander lay between Giles' legs, with his head on that strong chest. Giles pulled the blanket over them as Xander started the movie again.

That was how Dawn found them the next morning, 'It's about time,' she mumbled as she headed up to her bed. She hadn't really gotten much sleep last night, what with trying to stop her friend from summoning a singing demon because it sounded like fun, but it really wasn't.