Oz walked slowly around the campus, biding his time. He reached
the hall doorway, usually left unlocked whenever Giles was in the
library, and studied it for a second, noting the color, the texture, all
the things he normally didn't notice, except for certain times of the
month. Like today. He saw that it was unlocked, opened the door, and
He made his way down to the library and opened the doors with
enough noise to inform anyone that he was here. No interrupting people
in passionate embraces today, if he could help it.
Luckily, only Giles was there, looking up from a small collection
of books scattered across the library table. "Oz," he said amicably. He
looked up at the clock, then frowned slightly. "You're here rather early."
Oz shrugged. "It's New Year's Eve. My mother's preparing for the
annual party, and by the time 4:30 rolls around, my father'll be halfway
through a bottle of scotch. It's easier to be here." He looked at Giles.
"So why are you here?"
Giles looked down at the stacks of books around him. "Every year,
the Watcher's council requires an...account of the events that have
occurred over the year, extremely detailed and with possible....problems
that can be remedied over the year to come." He started moving papers
around. "They're sent monthly reports, plus information during cries,
but the annual report is what gets placed in the archives." He looked up
at Oz. "I am....a little behind on it."
Oz nodded. "Since I'm not going home anytime soon, need some
Giles smiled lightly. "That would be quite kind of you." He
pulled out a sheet of paper. "I need detailed information on these
particular subjects. Just find the books we used and set them on the
"Not a problem." Oz picked up the list and started mumbling the
names to himself. "Romany curses, Bezoar, Kakistos, Ovu Mobani, the
Judge, Acathla, werewolves..." He paused on the last one. "You are
going to mention that the information we have on werewolves is decidedly
Giles smiled. "Of course." He paused for a second. "You are
considered quite incredible in the supernatural studies circles....A
werewolf keeping a normal life..."
Oz frowned as he grabbed one book. "As long as they don't decide
to put me on display, I don't care what they think," he lied
effortlessly, his hands tightening around the book.
Giles looked directly at him. "I have been protesting the
discussion. I...I don't think it is right to publicly dissect people,
Oz's hands relaxed on the book. "Thank you," he said quietly.
Giles nodded. "I was curious, though. How do you explain your
nights...away?" He gestured at the paper apologetically. "This account
has to be detailed..."
Oz shrugged. "My father thinks I'm out at clubs seducing men. As
long as he thinks that way, my mother won't tell him otherwise."
Giles frowned. "She knows, then?"
Oz nodded. "She found out about Jordy, then asked me, in her
usual roundabout way. I think she's still in denial, though." He
shrugged again. "My only problem is the band....I think Devon is getting
suspicious of my excuses." He looked down. "It was...a lot easier when
Willow was...with me. I could say that I was out with her and that's why
I kept on missing practice. But now..." he paused for a second. "I told
Devon I was going to a concert in Vegas tonight. It's getting hard to
come up with excuses, though."
Giles frowned, still focused on only one part of that monologue.
After a minute, he spoke quietly. "I...I saw you speaking to Willow
before the break..."
Oz nodded, looking down. "Yeah...she wanted to apologize..." He
looked up at Giles, his face resolved. "And I wouldn't take her back."
Giles blinked a few times. "Right." He paused for a second,
trying to think of what to say. He finally gave up. "Is that Blessed
Raymond's Demonicon?" he asked, pointing at the book in Oz's hand.
"Oh...yeah...here." Oz handed the book to Giles. "I think the
section on the Judge is a little iffy, though. I mean, Raymond said he
was green, and he was obviously blue. And that whole 'no man-made
weapon' isn't even mentioned."
Giles raised an eyebrow. "But it does have detailed descriptions
of the dismemberment of the Judge, therefore giving us a proper tally of
what to look for."
"Except now he's in even more pieces. You ought to use Lord
Devane's Symposium on Demonology. It's better with the details."
Giles raised both eyebrows. "You....you've certainly spent more
time reading those books than I believed."
Oz smiled lightly. "I started reading everything on werewolves
and it just sort of went from there..." He looked down at the book in
his hand. "I like it, finding out new and different things about all the
weird shit out there. Reading about a demon who can destroy the entire
world in a heartbeat sort of makes my problems rather trivial."
Giles smiled as well. "I...I've never actually seen it that
way." He thought about it for a second. "But it works."
Oz nodded, then returned to the books. "If only finding excuses
for missing practice were as easy..." he said resignedly.
Giles frowned for a second, then looked up, an idea forming in
his head. "Oz," he said. "How would you like a job?"
Oz blinked. "What?"
Giles nodded, the idea becoming more coherent. "I could use a
research assistant....someone to help me organize books and whatnot..."
He paused, looking at Oz. "And it'd only be three or so nights every month."
Oz frowned for a second, then broke into a sly smile. "Giles,
are you offering me an alibi?"
"I could use the assistance. It won't be easy though..." Giles
paused for a second, trying to figure out how to say it politely.
Oz saved him. "Willow and Xander come in here all the time." He
nodded. "Yeah, I know." He shrugged again. "It doesn't bother me as
much as it used to," he said, trying to be optimistic.
Giles knew better. "I, of course, will talk to them if they seem
a bit too...involved with each other," he said briskly, scribbling on his
Oz looked at Giles, his eyes filled with gratitude. "Thank you,"
he said quietly.
Giles continued to write on his report. "You're rather quite good
at research, Oz. And if you need an alibi for the three nights you spend
here, then I'm glad to give you one. And as for the...other situation..."
He finally looked up at Oz, his gaze matching the younger man's. "I know
that these next few months are going to be extremely difficult...and I
will do what I can to help." He looked down at his papers and was about
to say more when the library doors opened suddenly. Both men looked at
Cordelia strolled into the library, her Gucci heels clacking on
the linoleum. "Oh good, you're not in the cage yet," she said to Oz.
Oz looked at her, his brow furrowed slightly. "Cordelia...what
are you doing here?"
Cordelia smiled bashfully, much to the surprise of Giles and Oz,
and pulled something out of her bag. "Well, instead of eating with us,
Mom decided she wanted to go to the $100-a-plate dinner at the Bonaventure
in Los Angeles and Dad shipped in these $40 a pound steaks for the family
and you can't re-heat these because you lose the flavor and I thought
that, well, everyone else was going to be out partying and whatnot and
you were going to be stuck here and, really, just because you're a
werewolf doesn't mean you can't enjoy life and so I brought you a steak to
eat." She handed Oz a large slab of beef in a ziplock bag. "Inez wanted
to cook it, but I made some excuse."
Oz looked at the meat and raised an eyebrow. "This
is...steak..." He looked up at her. "Wow...Thanks..."
Giles raised both eyebrows. "Yes...rather generous of you,
Cordelia looked at Giles oddly. "What are you doing here? Isn't
there like a ritual that Watchers have to do for New Year's or something
"Yeah, the annual report," Oz said dryly. He turned to Cordelia.
"So what are you doing?"
Cordelia shrugged. "New Year's at the Bronze. I figure I'll walk
in, look stunning, and kiss the nearest guy when midnight hits....right in
front of Xander of course. I'm hoping to guilt trip him into making a New
Year's Resolution involving massive acts of forgiveness, preferably
involving shopping and chocolate..." She smiled sharply. "Not that I'm
taking him back, of course."
Oz nodded. "Of course."
Cordelia sighed. "I better get going. It'll be dark soon..."
She started walking out the door, then turned back to face Oz. "You know,
it's really too bad that you're stuck here tonight...I'm sure the Blue
Angel really knows how to throw a New Year's Party." She left the
Giles looked at Oz with just a hint of panic. "She's been to the
Oz nodded. "Just once." He looked at Giles. "I didn't tell her
Giles relaxed slightly, removing his glasses and rubbing the
bridge of his nose. "I...Of all the people I would expect to see
there...Cordelia would...definitely be a surprise..." He looked at the
clock. "Right, it's almost sunset..."
Oz looked at the window and sighed. "Another night falls on
Sunnydale, and I get to be locked up in the library..." He opened the
cage door and shut it tightly. "At least I have dinner..." he said
Giles opened another book. "I'll...I'll be here all night working
on this report...so you needn't worry."
Oz nodded. "Hey, Giles?"
Giles looked up. "Yes?"
Oz slid off his shirt. "Happy New Year."
Giles smiled kindly. "Happy New Year to you too, Oz."