Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project
Secret Slasha – The Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Angel Slash Fanfiction Secret Santa Project

Finding A Way
By Delwyn
For Jessie

Giles simply stares for a moment. Of all the people who might have appeared on his doorstep, Oz would have been his last guess. He hadn't seen the boy in nearly three years. He hadn't changed much. His hair was still a mass of messy spikes, this time in black. He wore the usual uniform of t-shirt (David Bowie today) and jeans. An almost recognized medallion let Giles know that Oz was still searching for a better means to control the beast inside of him. If there's a hardness to his eyes that wasn't there before, well, that's to be expected. Time hardens all men as they learn the fairtales of youth are just that. Oz had been dealing with the realities of the world for longer than most. His cynicism was well-earned.

"Come in." Giles finally forced the words past his lips. Oz didn't answer, just nodded and crossed the threshold, dropping a bag just inside the door. Giles gestured into the living room, "Make yourself comfortable. Would you like some tea, or coffee maybe?"

Oz quickly occupied one of the soft chairs in the room. "No. I'm fine."

Giles ran a hand through his hair and sat across from Oz. "You've come about Willow?" It was the only explanation he could find for the enigmatic young man's presence.

"Not really. I know she was here, and I would like to know what's happened to her, to everyone." The words flowed from Oz's lips, a soft sound of pain and loneliness.

Giles nodded his understanding. "Things haven't been easy for her this last year, any of them really. They've all suffered. Buffy has struggled to discover who she is and her place in the world. Xander has had to fight his own demons, his fear of repeating his father's mistakes. But Willow, she has truly suffered most. She lost Tara, first to her own need for power and then for good. The girl wasn't even the target. She was collatteral damage. It made Willow a bit mad. She allowed the magic to control her, allowed her anger and pain to become not only the most important part of her world, but the whole of her world. She's been here, learning to cope with the things she's done and the power within her." Giles is surprised at how easily the words tumbled out. He's needed to speak to someone. Someone who would understand without needing to take sides or find blame.

"I saw her the day she left. She seemed changed, as if some of the horror had finally managed to touch her soul." Oz spoke a veritable monologue for him.

"I'd rather thought she'd remain unsullied for her whole life. I thought nothing could tarnish the innocence that existed there. Clearly I was wrong." Giles is inexplicably saddened at the thought. Of all the children he'd come in contact with, Willow's innocence, a purity almost, had drawn him the most. That it was now lost seemed impossible to grasp. Giles had spent years just avoiding allowing the sadness to overtake his thoughts, though, and he realized that Oz never had told him why he was there. "Why did you come?"

Oz shivered and wrapped his own arms tightly around himself. "I can feel it."

Giles waited to see if more information would be given before replying, "What?"

"Evil and death. They're coming, and I don't know if they can be stopped, but I have to try. So do you. So does Buffy. It's what we do." Oz spoke with a certainty that bordered on mania and a desperation that Giles had never heard in that smooth voice before.

Giles closed his eyes, allowing the truth of these words to hit him. "We will stop it. I still have friends, more than enough friends among the Watchers, to see to it."

Oz accepted this reassurance. "I should go."

"Stay." Giles wasn't ready to see the quiet young man leave. "The guestroom is still made up."

Two weeks later, Oz was still in Giles' home. The two of them had started careful investigations into the evil that Oz sensed. They'd discovered that Watchers all over the globe were being killed, potentials along with them. They began to gather books and documents, many stolen from the Council itself. They would discover what they were up against and prevent it. They had to.

As had become usual, the two of them were sitting around the dining table sorting threw the mounds of documents that littered it's surface. "Tea?" Giles questioned.

"mmm..." was the only response forthcoming from the younger man who was absorbed in a book about the identification of potential slayers.

Giles sighed and prepared two cups of tea setting one in front of Oz. "Take a break." He laid his now free hand on Oz's shoulder. The younger man smiled his crooked barely there grin and made a show of setting his work aside and sipping from the cup Giles had brought him. Giles smiled back gently and tightened his grasp on Oz's shoulder momentarily. He could date the moment Oz had found his way into his home, but he couldn't pinpoint when the young man had found a way into his life or his heart.

Oz leaned into Giles' touch. "Shouldn't you be taking a break?" There was a teasing note to Oz's tone that Giles hadn't heard in far too long.

Giles chuckled and released his hold on Oz's shoulder, smoothing the shirt after. He started to take a step back when he found himself being kissed by a boy who had moved lightning quick. Oz's hands were clenching in his hair. Their mouths were molded together as if they had kissed every day of their existence. Oz's warm mass was pressed tight to Giles' older and somewhat more pliant form. When Oz finally broke the kiss, Giles spoke. "You're sure?" The question was many faceted. This couldn't be casual. Neither of them were built that way. It was all or nothing.

Oz looked up at him, eyes nearly glowing with anticipation, "Always." the single word was bolstered by Oz's insistent hands working their way under Giles' shirt and his mouth moving of its own accord back to press against Giles'.

The next day, Giles could add another milestone. The day Oz had found a way into his bed. They were still focused, sifting through paper after scroll after codex in an attempt to find the answers. Their quick meetings with current Watchers became more and more dangerous. The day that Giles found a watcher dead and was almost killed himself their world changed yet again. Giles knew now what he had to do. He wasn't entirely sure why, but he understood the necessity of the action. The potentials must be taken to Sunnydale, to Buffy. He explained this all with great clarity, and at great length to Oz.

"Go. Take the girls you find along the way." Oz told him.

"Come with me?" Giles was surprised at how much pleading was in his own voice.

Oz shook his head, "I can't. I'll send the girls I can save to you."

"And when this is over...if I survive...if we both do."

Oz gave him a look daring him to suggest that any other outcome existed. "I'll find you."

Giles nodded, "And if I don't."

A flicker of some darker emotion showed briefly in the eyes that Giles had only recently learned to read before it was replaced with a laughing smile. "Then I'm taking your albums."

And in that moment, Giles laughed, purely joyous for the first time in years, decades even. "They're yours." So with a final kiss and a parting smile the two men turned to their tasks. The world needed saving, again, and it seemed they were destined to play a part.