He hates this, Xander does, the long, long nights of research. Not ever been school-minded, so what's the difference between learning about the latest demon of the night and the theory of relativity? There are books and notes and someone droning on and on at him while he does his best to keep up. Sounds like school to him.

So really, he thinks, who's to blame him if his mind wanders a little? He thinks he read somewhere that lecturing is more effective if you let your audience take a break. Which Giles has no intention of doing, Xander notes vaguely, so he'll just take his own mental vacation for a bit. No one will even notice.

Except for maybe Oz, who is looking at him oddly.

Why? Xander thinks, and nonchalantly brushes a finger under his nose in case something is hanging out. He casts an eye downward toward his shirt, looking for stray food crumbs. Whoops, his fly is open. Good thing he caught that before anyone else ... oh.

Hence the odd look from the enigmatic wolf. Oz must have noticed it when Xander stood and leant over him to snatch the last slice of pizza.

And now he's smiling, Xander notes interestingly. Well, whatever that thing is that Oz passes off as a smile. Sort of a turning up of the corner of his mouth. It's a nice mouth, actually. Xander likes the way Oz's top lip sort of blends into the bottom one. Xander wonders if Oz's wolf mouth does the same thing.

It's pretty cool that Oz is a wolf, is the next side road that his mind takes.

because he gets to kill stuff

Woah, woah there. Killing stuff is not cool! Xander scolds. Unless it looks like the spiny-headed thing that Giles is currently lecturing on.

the blood the smell the hunt

Now wait just one god darned minute, Xander thinks sternly. There is nothing cool


about blood. Blood reminds him of Angel, and Angel's as far from cool as it gets.

But Xander can't help it, and the sound of turning pages and Giles' voice fades even further into his already blurred background, and Xander drops his head into his hand and thinks of wolves. Wolves with sleek red hair and blank expressions, wolves with soft, flat pink tongues that show just the slightest bit between glistening canines.

He feels his half-erection come full mast and doesn't care, because the wolf is circling him now, watching him with graygreen eyes and a slow twitching of his tail. There is a shimmering in the air, a sort of chimera mix of Oz and wolf, and Xander realizes dimly that this double exposed photograph of Ozwolf is always there just below the surface. He just has to choose to see it.

Human now, and Oz still has his neutral expression even while managing to generate volumes of thought to Xander. Xander licks his lips and waits for a move to be made, any move, any word, any bit of something that will tell Xander that his attraction isn't all in his head and that wanting to touch Oz's hair is not weird in any way.

Further, further into the shimmering image, and now there is no table or book in front of him, only grass and rolling plains of night. And wolf. Wolf running beside him as Xander drops down to all four paws himself and runs too, the breeze ruffling the silvery fur behind his ears. Xander feels a gentle nip at his flank, and turns to see Oz grinning maniacally as he changes from human to wolf and human again. Xander thinks he could bite Oz back, just to see what would happen, so he gives a short yipping bark --

-- and his head falls from his propped hand and hits the table with a resounding thunk, waking him instantly from the strangely erotic dream.

Four pairs of eyes light on him and Xander smiles sheepishly. "I was listening."

"To what?" Willow asks curiously, and Xander frowns.

"To Giles."

Giles snorts and continues with his lecture, and Xander's momentary spotlight fades. No one is watching now.

No one save Oz, who has not taken his eyes from Xander's face. Oz is still smiling a little, and Xander realizes that his erection has not lessened. He shifts slightly, grimacing when the rough denim of his jeans rubs in just the right way over his cock, and thinks frantically of baseball or algorithms or his grandmother. Anything to make it go away.

don't think of bristly fur under his fingertips or sharp bites at his ear, don't think of Oz running with him through tall waving grasses while the moon gives permission

Xander accepts Oz's pull as easily as he accepts the traffic light on the corner will change colors. After all, Xander reasons, who argues with a wolf?

And then Willow sits down next to Oz and the spell is broken as suddenly as it was cast. Oz breaks his gaze from Xander and turns it on Willow and she giggles and blushes, and Xander is left with nothing but a tight hard-on and the memory of his five minute dream.

And a small mark, low on his thigh. In the shape of a bite.