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

His Word Is Sweet
By Lar
For Kate

He who controls his hand, he who controls his feet, he who is well controlled, he who delights inwardly, who is collected, who is solitary and content, him they call a bhikshu. The bhikshu who controls his mouth, who speaks wisely and calmly, who teaches the meaning and the law, his word is sweet. He who dwells in the law, delights in the law, meditates on the law, follows the law, that bhikshu will never fall away from the true law.
-Dhammapada V. 362-366

After six months in Tibet, it took a lot to make Lindsey feel even nominally aware of what might be considered out of the ordinary. He was three days' walk from the northern perimeter of Lhasa when he wandered through one of the little two-hovels-and-a-half-dead-mule pit stops that seemed to dot whatever road he decided to take. These were standard issue hovels, the old woman sitting in front of one of them on a mat that looked like it had more dirt on it than the road did. The fetid scent of something Lindsey did not ever want to know the origins of hovered in the air.

The old woman had one eye covered with a white growth of cataracts, but the other followed him as he walked past and nodded to her. There was something about the cloudy eye that gave him a bad feeling. He was way too old to be thinking about shit like that, but he could just feel her looking and it sent a chill up his back that made him have to turn and glance back.

She was staring at him with both eyes, one brown and one white, and she uttered something that sounded like she was trying to hack up a hairball. Lindsey tensed and considered whether he could live with himself if he turned and ran from a woman who went maybe 80 pounds and was at least that many years old on top of it. Decided that he didn't want to deal with the concept that he'd lost both balls in LA and stood his ground.

"Zao shang hao," he said, not really giving a damn that it wasn't morning or that the pronunciation was fucked six ways from Sunday.

The door behind her opened and that was when Lindsey found out that there were still things that could shock him. The boy that walked out was obviously not local, and more than that, he was looking at Lindsey like he knew him. Or at least he sure as hell wasn't surprised to see some scruffy American in cowboy boots hiking through the middle of Tibet.

"Xiawu hao," he said and then lifted one hand. "Hey."

"Hey." Lindsey didn't want to stare, but the boy was probably stare-worthy anywhere and not just here. His hair was black with the tips faded to something like orange, spiked up in what was either a random pattern or one that had serious effort put into making it look random. "Not from around here, are you?"

The grin that answered that remark could have made Lindsey feel like a dick but instead it was easy and almost beautiful.


They traveled together for three months, and neither one of them ever made mention of it being a thing. It just was. Oz spoke the language with a natural feel for the rhythm that Lindsey never managed to hit. Lindsey kept track of the money they used when they couldn't barter for food or a place to sleep. Oz cooked; Lindsey washed the plates and cups. They worked together without needing to define how or why.

Oz's skin was pale and scarred, traced round with tattoos. The ink was bright, even the black seemed to glow in contrast. Lindsey's own were more a part of his skin, blended into the faded tan in a way that made if seem that he had been born with them. The edges remained clear. Oz would run his fingers over them and smile, his eyes giving away nothing he thought. His body said enough, sharp hipbones and flat belly and surprisingly dark tangles of hair curled at the base of a cock that arched away from his body, curved that was made to fit to Lindsey's hand, mouth, tongue. When they were done, they curled together, the bulk of Lindsey's body around Oz's frailer one. Lindsey's fingers would twist the threads that wound around Oz's wrists. Red, gold, black, bands of plain string or braided patterns, interspersed with leather bands and copper bracelets that Oz never removed.

When Lindsey decided to leave, when he found that the call of revenge was stronger than the call of this easy, comfortable thing he'd found, Oz never asked where or why. He just nodded, letting Lindsey trip over his words until he ran through them all. Handed him another cup of tea that Lindsey drank without meeting Oz' eyes. Oz stared at the way one strand of hair refused to stop falling over Lindsey's face no matter how often he pushed it away, and then with clever fingers, Oz plucked out the knot from one of the bands on his wrist.

"You keep this," he said as he tied it, laying it over the barely-there scar on Lindsey's right arm that he'd never spoken about. The threads were black and orange, the color of Oz's hair that first day. A single strand of white ran through the pattern, so thin that it could barely be seen. Oz's nail traced it easily though. "It's kinda like me, Lin. You can't always see me, but I'm under it all."

Lindsey nodded, put that hand on the back of Oz's neck, held him there as he watched the light slip into the room. His thumb traced the curve of Oz' skull, felt the texture of his hair, his palm cupped to memorize the shape of that pale neck.

"I'll find you again." Lindsey heard the lie in his own words, and when Oz shook his head, he didn't bother to protest. He wondered when he'd lost his gift for being the man who knew the right thing to say. For making words work for him. "Oz."

"Lindsey." Another half-smile and a touch to the strings he tied on as Oz pulled Lindsey's hand away from his neck. "You could be right. Not likely but... I have been known to make a mistake now and then."


Lindsey untied the bracelet on the flight to LA. He wrapped it up carefully and put it in his wallet, pushed it deep down into the empty billfold compartment and checked it often. He debated the wisdom of putting it on again and finally settled for wearing it beneath the leather cuff on his left wrist instead of the one Oz had tied it on.

In the end - the very end of it - it was easier to find the white thread after all.