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

Silent Sounds Like This
By Rheya
For Maybedarkpink

When he thinks of Oz, Giles thinks of the music, of course, but also of sushi, scarred skin, of the moon and of silence. Not so much silence as a lack of speech, a type of quiet characterized by flipping pages, the whistle of the teakettle, by the soft click of chopsticks and a snapcracklepop in the fireplace.

It's their language, better understood than English or Giles's Latin or the three years of Spanish Oz studied just to get the graduation credit. When Giles picks up the phone his third month back in Britain, he realizes who's at the other end better when he first hears the un-silence of London traffic outside a phone box than when Oz actually speaks.

He says simply, "I'm in town," with no introduction or greeting. He doesn't say where he got the number or how he even knew Giles had left Sunnydale, and Giles doesn't ask. He rattles off his address and puts on a pot of tea.


The doorbell rings the first time and twenty minutes later, they're seated across from one another on Tatami mats, discussing the polite things in that way that they just barely do.

"Willow, she, ah, told us about your attempts with the wolf... What you told her when you went to the Campus. It's remarkable, really."

"Meditations. Charms." Oz shrugs noncommittally, but stoicism aside, he still hasn't mastered the art of speaking lightly when he means to. "It's not as impressive as it sounds."

"The wolf... it's a primal force. To have that live within you is not as simple as you would have it seem."

The raised eyebrows he gets in response are more than a little amused and surprised. "I thought you'd quit the Watcher thing."

"Once a Watcher, always a Watcher, I'm afraid." He smiles.

"It's cool," Oz says with a brief nod. "I kind of miss it. Part of the whole Sunnydale experience." He drops his gaze and pokes at his food. Beat. "Is..."

"She's happy." Giles sips his drink. "She and Tara are happy."

They leave it at that.


The second time, he doesn't call. He shows up on the doorstep four months later with dark circles under his eyes and dirt under his nails and he doesn't object when the stuffy Britisher in Giles immediately responds with tea. It's part of that language.

"It's coming," he says when Giles not-so-discreetly looks to the calendar on the kitchen wall. "November had a blue moon."

"It's becoming more difficult?" There needs to be a limit as to how many times a day one is allowed to clean their glasses.

"Wolfie wants out."

He finds tea leaves but no bags. He can barely hear the boiling water over the hush in the room. This time, it's tense. "You don't look well." It's not just the dark circles. He looks older, tired. Less his own age and more the way Giles actually feels lately more often than he doesn't.

"Thanks." There's no sarcasm, something that's only mildly unnerving considering it's Oz, but Rupert Giles was bred to worry. He comes from a long line of proud worriers.

The tea seems to help, and after, Oz concedes to invading Giles's privacy just a bit further. He runs through all the hot water in the bathroom, rising steam on the mirrors and turning his skin red under the spray.

Giles makes up the couch with parched, overnight company sheets.

Later, dry and calmed, Oz explains in as many words as he can muster how the nightmares started, working to ebb away his focus during the full moon. "I started waking up and not knowing where I was. It kinda put a damper on the inner-cool. It's harder to get it back once it's lost."

"I can only imagine," Giles says, brow knitted, and he reaches for his glasses again. "It's possible the... the wolf is taking a more aggressive approach. These things aren't usually content being repressed."

"You think the dreams are being... sent by it?"

"Sent, generated. I would have to consult my books to be sure, but at present..." He stops, studies Oz intently. "You should sleep. Or try to."

"Are you saying I should... get it to give me another nightmare?"

"The only thing I'm saying is that you need rest. Your mind needs rest. You don't look well."

"Yeah, you've said." Oz's eyes dart to the sofa and he sets his mug down.

"The bedroom," Giles interrupts swiftly, pointing down the corridor. "It's far more comfortable. This is for me." He indicates the couch with a tilt of his head.

"I don't want to‹"

"Intrude? I daresay I sleep too much as it is. I should catch up on my reading." They smile briefly at that. "Really, if I'm going to be a father-figure I may as well act like it. Sacrifice of luxury and all that."

Oz gives him a wry smile. "I don't think I ever thought of you as the father-figure." It's simple enough a sentiment not to question, but it feels like it means more.

He goes to sleep within minutes, and Giles tosses and turns on the sleeper sofa. Tomorrow, he decides, he's getting a new couch. This is abominable.

The growls start coming around three or four, and Giles goes to investigate. He expected to see discomfort, but not the claw marks that look as though they're carving themselves into Oz's skin from the inside, not the fading, spider web scars he can see in the half-moon light peeking through the window, not the tears squeezed from squinted, sleeping eyes.

Later, neither of them will be quite sure how an innocent hand on the shoulder to chase away nightmares that aren't just nightmares became more. Neither of them will be quite sure what it did become either, because they both try to convince themselves it's less about physical, animalistic need and more about some sort of spiritual or emotional support. They don't kiss, though, only touch and touch, and later, they don't say a word about it.

Cold or not, it's comfort. That's something they could both use more of.


He only ever comes to the door once more, on a cold night that feels like winter bleeding into frosty spring. He looks worse than ever, but this time, Giles makes no comment, just ushers him inside, draws a bath and ransacks the fridge and cabinets, because Oz looks like he hasn't had a good, square meal in weeks.

Even after an hour of hot water and bubbles and all of those things that are supposed to be rejuvenating and comforting about baths, Oz looks like Hell.

He probably hasn't slept properly in months, maybe even since before that last night in Giles's bed, and under his too-loose clothes, his skin is bruised and scarred and stretched too tight across his bones. The charms on his hand and around his neck look too heavy for him, somehow, and it takes a while for Giles to realize that it's because even though Oz has always been small, he's never looked frail.

And now he does. He looks like defeat.

"It's taking me over," he explains in a flat tone and stares right into the grate the entire time he speaks. "Veruca... she told me that the wolf's inside me all the time. That it's part of me. I thought I had it figured out. I thought I knew where it ended and I started."

"But... now you doubt it."

"I spend all my time thinking about it. Not necessarily just how to get it out. It was a part of her. And..."

"She let it into her soul, Oz. If she had lived..." He sighs and scratches at the back of his neck absently. "I've been doing some reading, old accounts and sources. There's an old werewolf who lives here, in the city. I've spoken with him a number of times.

"I still can't tell you what makes the difference. He has lived with this for most of his life, since he was a boy. He keeps it under control, even at the moon. It's had nowhere near this effect on him. No nightmares, just the nights of the full moon. But he's told me stories of people he's met. Some simply can't control it. Veruca chose to enjoy it, but she died for it." He pauses, shoots Oz an uncertain look, then clears his throat and continues. "There are other accounts... people who have tried to live normal lives, the way you did for a time."


"And they manage, for a while. But... the Wolf becomes agitated. Perhaps it's due to the source ­ maybe it varies with the werewolf who bit you ­ it isn't simply content to come out at a full moon. And when you repress it, the way you've tried to do, it... it retaliates."

"So it is part of me. But it can think for itself."

"Think, no. Not necessarily. But something along those lines. It is its own force."

"You mean it's going to come out, and I'm not strong enough to stop it."

"I'm sure there's something," he says, sounding more certain than he feels, but not by much. "There has to be a way‹"

Oz nods. "Okay," he says, and he has no desire to hear the rest. He finishes off his tea and sets the cup down harder than he means to, then retreats down the hall toward the bedroom without question.

Giles hesitates for a moment, and then follows. The company sheets are in his bedroom closet.

And cold comfort is better than no comfort.


The last time, he only calls. The city sounds tired in the background, that four-AM fatigue of cracked clubbing makeup and of adrenaline starting to fade when it gets too early rather than too late.

It takes him a few tries to get the words out, but he finally says, "You were right."

Giles sits up and rubs his eyes, reaches for his glasses in the dark. "Oz?"

"I think it's... it's coming out."

"But the moon‹"

"Two weeks ago. It doesn't care." There's a crack on the line, and it might just be his voice breaking. "Wolfie wants out."

There's a crash of what might be breaking glass and the shiver of a scream cut short. The gunshot is softer than the silence that follows. This time, there are no flipping pages or whistling tea kettles. Only death.

Death is a different type of quiet.