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

Primal Therapy
By Wolfling
For Charles

When they came together, it was never gentle, never easy. It was always sharp and painful and violent, all claw and fang, as much a fight as a coupling. Angel was sure that if anyone ever observed these... encounters that they would have a difficult time distinguishing between the two actions.

Not that anyone had ever seen; they'd always been careful to pick isolated and deserted areas for these activities. Not out of shame, exactly, but more out of a sense that this was private and would be difficult to explain, at least not in a way that most people would be able to understand. Beyond that, neither he nor Oz was big with the sharing, so it was just easier to make sure they didn't have to.

They never really spoke about it to each other either, not even that first time, all those years ago. It wasn't about that kind of communication; it was about something more basic, something primitive and primal.

At its heart it was about need -- the need to forget, and to remember, the need to stop thinking and to start feeling, and above all the need to let go.

The first time it happened had been in Tibet. Angel had been there trying to come to terms with Buffy's death and Oz had been there... well, he never found out exactly why Oz was there. They had run into each other in a smoky, rundown bar and had spent most of the night sitting together drinking a lot of bad whiskey and not talking much. That was one thing that Angel had always appreciated about Oz -- he didn't feel the need to say something just for the sake of filling up the silences.

Angel was never sure if it was because of the cheap whiskey which could have also been useful in stripping paint, or the quiet company, but he eventually found himself considering aloud how it was possible to feel achingly empty and rigidly controlled at the same time, and how it was impossible to relax that control.

Oz had looked speculatively at him for a long moment, then downed his drink and stood up. "Come on," he had said, and for whatever reason, Angel had done so with no questions.

Oz had led him out of the bar and beyond the tiny village's boundaries, not stopping until they were deep in the night and the wilderness.

Somehow Angel hadn't been at all surprised when Oz had kissed him; taking comfort in some willing flesh was an age old answer to pain of all sorts. He was numb enough and drunk enough at that point to even think it was a good idea.

What had surprised him was when Oz changed. One minute he was kissing a human, the next a werewolf -- albeit a werewolf that still seemed intent on kissing him. The wolf in Oz seemed to pull at the demon in him, and without conscious thought, Angel found himself slipping into game face.

What followed next involved a great deal of growling and snarling, biting and clawing, ripping and tearing of clothes and skin, rolling around in the snow half naked and rutting like, well, beasts.

It was mindless, raw emotion and instinct, blotting out all the questions and worry and pain that had been tormenting Angel, a cathartic experience that, when it was over, had left Angel feeling just that little bit lighter and more able to deal with things.

He and Oz hadn't spoken about it afterwards, but had parted company the next day with their usual laconic goodbyes. Angel had been thankful, but had been certain it was a one time thing and would never be repeated. Oz had gone... wherever it was that Oz was going and Angel went back to LA and his friends, to get on with his life, and that was the end of it.

And so it had been. Until Angel had pulled the biggest gamble of his very long life, and had managed to survive -- but only at the cost of everyone he was closest to.

It had taken him a long while to become even remotely recovered after that, and he only managed it by ruthlessly locking down every emotion he had. He didn't dare let himself feel because if he did, it would sweep away what was left of him. He could survive as long as he didn't allow himself to feel.

That was his state when his path crossed Oz's again. Much as the last time, it had begun with drinks at a bar and a conversation more noted for its gaps than its words. This time when Oz stood and said, "Come on," Angel knew exactly what he had in mind and almost didn't go. But after a second's hesitation he had followed, that time and every time since.

By choosing to do this, to let his demon out in this limited way, by letting go of conscious control in this one particular set of circumstances, he was better able to keep control the rest of the time. It was a sort of primal therapy, he supposed.

Angel wondered sometimes what Oz got out of their encounters, if he needed the release of control as much as Angel did. Angel thought he might, and that was what kept bringing them back together over and over. Not the need so much as the wordless understanding; the recognition of another soul dealing with the same problems, and willing to use the same solution. Maybe one day, he'd actually ask Oz about it. In the meantime he would be satisfied with their silent understanding.

No, when they came together, it was never gentle or easy. It was something much more important.

It was necessary.