Venus In Fur

When they thought about it, they agreed about how fitting it seemed.

But they rarely thought about it, because it didn't regularly come up in conversation. Demons to kill, vampires to slay, life and death situations were regular conversation, but something as trivial and small as this -- it didn't bear repeating regularly.

It was only once in a long while that it came out -- on those long lonely nights together, when discussing the past and discussing absent friends seemed necessary. When the CD player would randomly come to a Velvet Underground song, when Devon's new band would play, when they would catch Giles sitting and staring at the same page in a book for an hour. On those nights, Buffy, Xander and Anya (occasionally Willow, but Willow still did not like to talk about such things, especially when Tara was with her) would sit in Xander's living room, and talk, their voices soft and almost reverent.

There was really no other way to discuss it, no harsh laughter, no loud voices, nothing but quiet seriousness, as if the subject at hand was a hero, a martyr, dying for king and country instead of simply missing, off wandering again in an attempt to find himself amidst the dredges of civilization. They'd talk quietly, talking about Giles, how hollow he seemed, how his smiles and his comments were forced at times, how lonely it must be for him, and how strange the single moment where they all realized what had happened was.

How strange it was to see Oz again, back for the shortest of visits, sitting in the back room of Giles' store, a mug of tea resting comfortably on his knee. How comfortable he looked there, as if he had always been there, his eyes looking up from the book sprawled across his lap, the expression on his face, as if it was a normal day, and he was there every morning. How he absently scratched at his ear, angrily bright red around the small silver earring, and how he dismissed the allergic reaction, as they knew he would, just as they knew that werewolves would be allergic to silver. And how seemingly right it felt for Oz to be there, with Giles, having an everyday discussion in front of them.

And how the light glinted off of Giles' ear, and how the stud matched Oz's.