Forgive Us Our Debts
by Dolores

Rupert Giles was not in the habit of consorting with any of Ethan Rayne's former associates. He did today, but under silent protest and for what he believed would be the greater good. It was not that Mr Yamamura was anything other than perfectly pleasant, but he seemed to have known Ethan far too well for Giles to believe for one moment that he was as nice as he seemed.

Tokyo in the autumn was golden and silver, turning leaves and shiny steel. Acers lined the street into which Mr Yamamura's gleaming black car had glided. It purred to a graceful halt outside a traditional looking house, pagoda-like and surrounded by rhododendrons and other exotic shrubs. Giles followed Yamamura out of the vehicle toward it.

He had come to the Yamamura's house for dinner, though that was not the reason for his visit. Over that dinner they would be discussing the sale to the Watchers' Council of a book of prophecies, which in part at least concerned the Council, and possibly the present Slayer too. Just important enough for Giles to take this sort of risk — and, because of the "personal connection" between he and Yamamura, Quentin had insisted it was his risk to take.

The front door slid aside, a servant just visible in the gloom beyond. The two men crossed the threshold, removing their shoes and donning house slippers as etiquette demanded. Ushered on by his host Giles walked toward the dining room, still exchanging pleasantries.

Mr Yamamura turned just as they reached the door. "Mr Rayne mentioned that you and he were once lovers," he said in crisp, faintly accented English. Giles coughed, embarrassed. Yamamura smiled thinly and slid the door aside. "I hope I have prepared appropriately."

Giles stepped inside. The room was thick with heat and incense, and candles flickered on many surfaces. Giles felt sweat prickle on his forehead. His eyes fell to the low table and widened.

A naked youth lay upon the table, coated lightly in oils and shimmering in the candlelight. He lay on his back, legs together and palms upturned. Moist sushi covered most of his body, along his arms, in the groove between his legs and across his torso. Two small bowls of pickled ginger were held delicately in each palm, and in his navel sat another shallow dish containing a black pool of soy sauce. Salad leaves and seaweed garlanded his face and genitals — the latter denuded of hair but encircled by a gold ring at the base, leaving his penis raised and plump. Two slices of cucumber shielded his eyes, acting as a blindfold.

Giles reflected that it was just as well the youth could not see who would be dining from him, because his name was Oz.

It took a few moments for Giles to recover his composure. Mr Yamamura looked slightly concerned. "He does not please you?"

It hadn't occurred to Giles he would have to speak: unless they'd stuffed asparagus in his ears, it would be quite plain to Oz who he was. His throat was suddenly dry. Not taking his gaze from the body in front of him he swallowed with difficulty and then replied with a quaver in his voice, "Not at all. He pleases me greatly."

At the sound of Giles' voice Oz tensed, sending little concentric waves across the pool of soy sauce, but he did not otherwise react. Giles slowly exhaled.

"Please, be seated," Yamamura said, and proceeded to do so himself on Oz's right side.

Giles sat cross-legged on Oz's left, and a servant brought a steaming bowl of green tea to him, whilst another presented him with a set of wooden chopsticks and a plate. Mr Yamamura was given the same, and they began to eat.

They talked over Oz, soon dispensing with small talk and moving on to the negotiation. Giles found it hard to concentrate: as the sushi was slowly consumed more and more of Oz's nakedness was revealed, his delicate pink skin sticky from the food. As the little packages of rice and fish were dipped into the soy sauce, it slopped over the side of the dish and dribbled down Oz's sides, streaking them in black.

Eventually, to Giles' relief and regret, the meal was finished and a price was settled. It was less yen than it was ancient spells and demon incantations, but it was evidently satisfactory to Mr Yamamura. "I am pleased with this, Mr Giles. Very pleased," he said, clapping his hands together. "I shall fetch the book tomorrow from my vault. Tonight I insist that you accept my hospitality and sleep here."

"I have a hotel room..." Giles began.

Mr Yamamura shook his head. "I will not hear of this! I would not have you sleep in a hotel when my servants can care for you so handsomely here." He grinned. "And I am so pleased I wish to give you a personal reward."

Giles couldn't risk Yamamura withdrawing from the deal on account of his perceived ingratitude. "Very well," he said, glancing once more at Oz.

"Excellent. Now, if you please we shall enjoy some saki." Mr Yamamura got to his feet, and walked to the door, beckoning Giles to follow him. As Giles got to his feet, Yamamura muttered some comments to a servant that Giles could not hear. The servant nodded and scurried away.

Oz lay on the table.


It was nearly two hours later when Giles was shown to his room. It was airy, and wind chimes tinkled next to the open window. Beyond it, the city rumbled in the distance. He had just removed his tie when there was a knock on the door.


It slid aside and revealed Oz, robed in a blue kimono. "Hey. I'm here to reward you," he said, entering the room and closing the door behind him.

Giles stepped towards him then held back, nervous. "Oz! I had no idea you'd be...how are you? What are you doing here? I — you — uh — how exactly will you reward me?"

"I'm good, I'm paying off a debt, and, well, I think you probably realise what he means."

"Yes, I suppose I do." Giles suddenly laughed and embraced Oz. When they parted he asked, "What debt?"

Oz sighed and looked at the wind chimes. "Mr Yamamura procured some essential supplies for me to help with the whole wolf repression shindig — not that I could pay for them. Seeing as I'd sold everything else the only thing I had left was me."


"Hey, don't worry. It's only for a couple of weeks, and I'm usually only a dinner plate."


"Mr Yamamura noticed that you seemed... interested in me. If I'm willing to...become dessert for his important English visitor, then I can go tomorrow. Debt paid."

Giles chuckled. "Oz, really, I...well, we can just say that, um, well, we can let him assume — I mean, we can convince him repayment has been made. He needn't be any the wiser."

Oz tilted his head to one side, looking at Giles. "Is it true what he said about you and Ethan?"

"Ah. You heard that."

"Is it?"


Oz nodded. "And what you said about me?"

Giles' mouth twisted in part mirth and part embarrassment. "I didn't lie, if that's what you're asking me."

Another nod, and Oz's eyes flicked briefly to the wind chimes before returning to Giles. "Then we needn't lie to him."


The taste of salt lingered on Oz's skin.

Oz lingered on Giles.


Later, when Giles had both received and taken his reward, Oz laid his head upon Giles' chest and held tight. Lazy fingers drifted through his hair and he shut his eyes, though not to sleep.

Giles whispered. "How are you really?"

"I can't go back now."

"But I thought this released from the debt."

"No; I mean I can't go back to Sunnydale."

"Ah. I see. Where do you want to go then?"

Oz made to chuckle, but it caught in his throat. "Home."

Giles' other hand moved to Oz's shoulder and squeezed tight.


There was a spare seat on the flight home to London. Giles paid using his credit card.

"I owe you," said Oz, as they sat in the departure lounge.

Giles traced a finger down Oz's cheek and he smiled. "I wouldn't worry. I'm sure we can figure out a repayment plan."