He thinks it's possible that all of them are reaffirming things
Species lag never ceased being interesting. Or, at least, it hasn't
yet. Oz likes the weirdness, in a way that would surprise no one
who knew him. Certainly not Giles, who seems to have classified
the world to his liking and layered shellac on it, save that he
still... rolls with things.
Adapts much faster than Oz had calculated to the news -- a wolf
in his blood.
The punishment has been.
It feels legendary.
Like being fourteen again, and knowing that the pain, whatever
pain it was, was greater than anything, ever. Except that now
he's twenty and the lack of perspective feels both shameful and
Old enough to know better, but.
Silver needles, threaded through the skin of his back in what feels
like a very precise pattern, but Oz cannot trust his nerve
endings. Not with this scream.
He's been screaming all day.
Fountain pen, filled with Holy Water, Darla reading aloud as
Giles carved in the runes.
Jepheth. Trur. Ramyados.
He doesn't know what they mean, and he knows it is not his
place to ask. His apology was accepted before they begun. Oz
knows that when he apologizes again, at the end, he will mean
Oh, yes. Yes.
The ring in his nipple from the first night, weighted with simple
lead. Silver there would've left uncontrollable patterns, and Oz
must learn control. The root of it. The source. He's never
known anything like he knows this, learning with each ideogram.
Drusilla's laughing tears for him, Darla's simple laugh.
Later, Giles hauls him outside and sets him to run.
When Giles catches him, he is savaged, wolf-to-wolf. Face in
the dirt and thick, hard cock driving him and driving him until
Oz cries, and screams, and howls.
Oz feeds on the nameless boy as brutally as he can, but in the
end he's too tired to let out enough of the rage and shame to
feel himself again. He has been fundamentally hurt.
The sacred tools of death used to torment him, drive him to
his knees when Giles had only ever had to. Ask.
Which is the point, Oz knows.
He's never belonged to anyone else before, never given his
allegiance. Giles is good, Giles is right, Giles runs through his
veins and dribbles down the crack of his ass and Giles. Owns
him. He's said the words before, or thought them hard enough,
but it's only just now beginning to sink in.
He is not a separate creature.
His demons are smug, calm within the proper order of things.
Oz -- Oz that is, and used to be, almost, maybe himself -- has
begun to crave chaos.
Which makes it hard to have a truly objective opinion on the
question of upcoming Armageddon.
"What should we care? From what Glory said it sounds like this
will be on a different plane of existence." Darla is vaguely
glaring at her absent reflection in the mirror. Half her hair is
straight as bone, the rest curled elegantly. Oz wants to sniff it.
Of them, she always smells the most different, the least of
None of them will let him close enough to bite, or have offered
him their blood. Not even Giles, for whom the damage has been
(Dirty, scheming pup)
It burns. All of it.
He is fed, he is cared for, he is no longer the mascot. The
punishment did not help that. You do not scheme against the
Sire, and yet they all have, one way or another.
Oz doesn't know the way to forgiveness, and the urge is upon
him to bare his neck, his belly, everything. He has never been
very brave, he has never been very anything. Not really. Possessing
cool by dressing as though he existed on the fringe of things, and
playing a guitar. He wants to live in a world where that is
Alters the bored silence: "Is it possible that what happens on the
plane of... the Gods could affect our own reality?"
"Anything's possible with bloody Gods, pup. 's kind of the
point." Spike is measuring him openly.
Giles is reading, chewing on the frame of his glasses, somehow
managing not to warp the metal. Oz can feel the absence of his
regard like a weight. "But Glory was limited. By the key. She's
not all powerful here."
"Powerful enough. Though she did like you... maybe if we
dropped you on 'er doorstep she'd be kind enough to let us all
Oz remains silent, watches furtively for Giles' reaction to that --
an irritated glare. Enough for now.
The silences falls again, save for Spike's strangely soothing
breaths to smoke, and Drusilla's tatting. The lace is already
stained with the blood from beneath her long nails. Darla is
brushing out her curls, and Oz wonders what it's like to be a
female vampire, or a vain vampire of any sex.
Wonders if it hurts at all. Wonders if he's changed, somehow.
Oz tries again: "How do we know that Gods touch the earth?
That the symbols aren't just symbols, made of a magic we
decide to call Christianity or Judaism or Islam? Magic that only
effects certain species, at certain times."
"Every Watcher muses on that at one point in time."
"Yeh? So what's the answer, Rupert?"
"For school? Shut up and carve some crosses until you've
learned respect. In life? Do whatever works. Repeatedly, if
Spike ground his cigarette into the floor. "You know, I bloody
fucking well hate questions with no answers."
"Which explains your poetry..." Darla, smiling into the empty
glass. "Angelus saved every word, you know."
"Bollocks. He would've used it against me whenever he
"They made him laugh too hard. He couldn't hold onto a
"And now I know you're lying. Angelus could sneer with no
teeth in his head."
"Mice in the hole!"
"Exactly, Dru pet."
"My Spike knows how to listen to the stars."
Giles looks up, interested, and "really? Is he another seer? The
line of Aurelius is really quite rife with vampires with
extraordinary powers. Of course, most of them go mad and die
"Us, Rupert, us. Our blood in you, your blood in us... and
Oz's." Darla pauses, turns to study him, and Oz blinks slowly
and focuses. He knows Giles is watching.
"And what about you, halfling? Will you go mad and die? Or
just betray us?"
"You haven't done either, Darla."
A raised eyebrow. "I haven't? So sweet for such a treacherous
boy. Giles, you're much too lenient with him."
"More punishment will just make him rebel, I think."
Darla sighed, walked over with the brush in a way that made
Oz want to flinch, though she only knelt beside him and began
working the tangles out of his hair. "You'd better be useful, Oz.
I would've killed you for what you did to Giles.
"I still might."
Later, somehow, he finds himself curled in Darla's lap as she
pets him absently. Hums something that Drusilla dances to.
Both she and Spike watch her avidly, the shift and flex of her
muscles precisely that kind that goes with dance.
Drusilla is lovely.
But Giles is watching only Oz, and he is not surprised when
Giles simply collects him, and leads him to their room.
Teases out whatever style Darla had given him into spikes,
produces a box of hair dye.
"A gift. There are several others in the bathroom."
And it's just as flooring as Oz knows it was supposed to be
and everything aches and his nipple is ache and he's been so
scared and Giles holds him close, and whispers nonsense into
"I turned you, Oz. I want you. Forever."
"What happens if I run?"
"I find you. I hunt you down and claim you. You gave me that
gift yourself, after all."
And Giles kisses his laughter and, this once, is gentle. Even like
this. Even knowing himself. Controlled.
Spread over Giles' thighs and opened. Speared. Thinking of
doing this to Devon. Thinking about how much he's learning, just
by being here. Wisdom fresh and clean as a blade, and when
Giles' wrist is at his lips, he waits until he is told.
In the end, it comes down to Dawn, who Oz, newly blond,
remembers mostly in a week of sort of amused terror when she'd
had a crush on Devon. Thankfully, the man had been too busy
with groupie 38DD to notice, and Dawn had gone back to having
a crush on nice, safe Xander.
Xander is still alive, and that feels. Wrong somehow. As if he
should always be where Oz wants to be, undeserving and
"I'm bloody bored. Can't we just kill the niblet and have it
done with? What say you, Oz? Nothing like veal, right?"
And he can taste it, suddenly, pure and so tender. Dawn isn't
out of shape, but she's still soft... shakes himself out of it to
find Dru attempting to rock a smirking Spike like a baby. Darla
"I like them with more meat on their bones."
"You'd fuck a bloody mountain if it had decent pecs."
Darla only smiles, nudges the young boy she's brought in with
the toe of her pumps. The boy shudders, closes his eyes.
Oz is the only one of them not in demon-face, and wonders
whether he should change that, join them. There is a part of
him whose origin he can guess, and that part never wants to
shift again. Funny to have wholly different motivations get
him to the same place.
Giles looks up from his journal with a slightly distracted air that
makes Oz wish to be invited to his side, and then simply goes
anyway. A hand on the back of his neck, casual and hard. So
"I'm worried that permanently removing the key may leave
Glory more deranged than ever, which wouldn't be good for any
"And then, of course, there's the question of what would happen
if we tried to destroy the key. Those monks surely had a reason
to keep it instead of simply denying it to Glory forever."
"Eh. I don't buy it. People hold on to all sorts of dangerous
things just because they like the look of it, or just like to be the
one in charge of it. Possession, Rupes."
Darla kicked the boy in exasperation. "Why don't we just have
Dru summon us up a nice, stupid demon army and aim it at
the lunatic? Glory's weakened, isn't she? So one Slayer couldn't
defeat her. One Slayer couldn't defeat an army, either."
"Daddy chops armies into messes."
"Yes, thank you for that reminder Dru, but Angel's not here."
Drusilla turns mournful in an eyeblink. "No one's ever here, not
even my own babies..."
"Nonsense, luv, we're right here."
"No... you're all gone, all gone, away and no one will ever
reach you again!"
Giles raises an eyebrow. "I wonder if that's a warning about
killing Dawn or Glory. Or both."
"Search me, mate. I've been with her over a hundred years and I
still don't have a fucking clue."
"Drusilla, will you just stop crying? It's all right, we're right here,
we won't leave you alone, shh, shh, honey, it's okay." And it's
this strange kind of magic, watching Darla slip out of petulant,
blood-thirsty queen into... this.
Holding Drusilla close, brow knitted with concern. Is it that she
was sired by her the second time? Oz finds himself wondering
about masks again, and has his own foul-sired urge to separate
his family and study them. But no white rooms. No burns. And
the memory: Riley.
Saving him, but damning him first.
"I want to torture Riley."
"Now there's a plan, halfsies. Too bad he's running about South
America somewhere. Don't worry, there's always later."
"Really, we don't have the luxury to settle down and torture
anyone, not while the future of the universe apparently hangs in
"Darla gets to torture that bloke over there, now doesn't she?"
"The only thing he's being tortured with is this conversation."
Darla slipped away from Drusilla and kicked him again for good
measure, making the boy moan and wet himself.
"Oh, wonderful. Do we really need our home stinking of
"No one let me piss in the corners, and you know Oz is just
"You're a whiny little bitch these days, aren't you, Will?"
"My name is Spike."
"And my name probably used to be Chastity or Patience. It
doesn't change who I am, now does it?"
"The ladies wear no petticoats."
Darla grins and lifts her dress a few inches, baring a smooth,
Drusilla giggles and blushes faintly with her stolen blood. "My
girl-child is naughty."
Giles sighs and rubs at his temples, ridges too stiff to shift with
his touch and the effect was somewhat surreal. Something out
of a Jim Henson acid trip. "If you're all quite finished, I have a
Drusilla pounces, straddling his lap and nuzzling his ear. "A
very sexy fuddy-duddy," she purrs, in a voice that isn't quite
her own, making Giles stiffen and snarl.
"I'm not under your glam this time, Drusilla."
"The terrible gypsy owned you, Rupert. Daddy had to kill
her so you could be ours."
"That doesn't seem to really work out, pet, what with Peaches
still all good."
Drusilla simply hums, settling herself more comfortably in
Giles' lap and nuzzling. After a moment Giles' takes the hand
from Oz's neck and rests it at the small of Drusilla's back. Oz
stills himself before moving away.
"Well, that settles it, Rupes. It all happened just the way it was
supposed to, and Jenny died so's we could all be together. Sweet,
Giles stares for a moment before slowly, deliberately, sinking
his fangs into Drusilla's throat, earning a low, hungry sound
that makes Spike's brow knit.
"You look more like Angelus every day, Spike. That's it. Say
something nasty. Brood. You might be attractive, yet."
"Shut up, Darla."
Tinkling laughter and Oz feels Spike's eyes on him. Wonders
what punishment he'll take for Giles, or if Ripper will come out
and take it for him. But all Spike does is pat his own lap, and all
Oz does is answer the summons, settling in. Cuddling when
Spike yanks him closer. Was this the first night? The second?
Any minute Spike will take him hard, growling and bloodying
him, all for Giles to see.
Spike is hard, and reeks of old humiliation and ratcheting
tension that makes Oz's heart want to beat until it all just...
And Spike laughs.
"So what's the word, Dru? Will Daddy ever come home?"
"Yes. And we will swim in blood."
"Oh, fuck me for asking."
Giles leaves off feeding to speak. "Whose blood is that, Drusilla?"
"The whirlwind told my dollie not to say."
"The whirlwind is a bloody git."
"Right, that's about as useful as this is likely to get. My suggestion
Darla pauses in grinding the boy's face into the mess he made.
"I'm listening, Giles. It's not every day Spike turns someone
smart enough to pull their own weight."
"Yes, well, quite. Put simply, we have to discover how Glory was
contained for all this time, and put her back. Then we'll let
Dawn die a natural death someplace dim and dark, chain up the
Slayer and make her hurt for a decade or two, and. What else is
"Xander and Anya," Oz whispered into Spike's throat.
"Oh, yes. We'll eat them."
"Bra-vo, Watcher. But just how do you suppose we go about
finding all that information. Didn't the Slayer say that Glory
killed all the monks?"
"Indeed. But there's always the Council." And Giles' smile is
wide and wet.
"Right, so who's for a nice, long ride in the cargo hold of a 747?"
"It will be soooooo dark..."
"That's right, princess. Black as sin itself."
Darla sighs and kicks a hole through the boy's chest. "I'm off
"You do that, love. And what about Oz, eh, Rupes? Has he
earned his vacation? Don't suppose we'll have to quarantine
you two." Smiling into Oz's eyes, tracing patterns on the back of
"I'm positively writhing in amusement. But as to your
question..." And Giles smiles again, the wicked curve, and all for
Oz. "We all killed Devon, by the way. Left a terrible mess. We
were going to leave it as a surprise, but... well, I just wanted you
to know before we left. You will never deceive me again, Oz."
Spike doesn't even pause in petting him.
And all Oz can do is blink, and nod.