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

Slices of Life
By Elizabeth Scripturient
For Dolores

On full moon days, he walks for hours through the ancient ruins, worrying the beaded cords around his hands.

He doesn't want to talk to people, and tourists tend to be wrapped up in their own engagements, so it's a good place to be.

After the sun has gone down, he makes his way back to Giles' flat. He still thinks of it as that, even though he's been sleeping there for nearly nine months now... sharing Giles' bed for six.

Tonight Giles is making Indian curry. Oz never thought of Giles as someone who cooked, but he applies himself to it -- not quite like Oz does to his guitar, but certainly with a different kind of energy than he applied to research back in Sunnydale.

Today isn't one of "those" days, so Giles isn't waiting for Oz but pretending he isn't, the tension in his body evident from across the room. He never says anything -- knows that if Oz wants to talk about it he'll bring it up himself -- but his smiles are always strained those nights.

Tonight is just a "normal" night, so part of Giles is still on alert, waiting for Oz to come through the door, but it's a joyful expectancy.

Oz opens and shuts the door quietly, the opera music hiding the faint click of the door as he unlocks and relocks it. He walks softly to the kitchen. He can tell Giles knows he's here but is waiting for Oz to acknowledge it. He picks up the hand Giles is stirring with, guides the wooden spoon to his own mouth, sucks off the tomatoey sauce.

Giles takes back the spoon and then leans in and kisses him, softly and slowly, then draws away, says, "Needs more ginger," smiling. Oz smiles back at him.

"What did you do today?" Oz asks after they've sat down at the table. He never used to have any interest in small talk, but then this isn't small talk.

Giles tells him about the shop he went to this morning. "The proprietor insisted he didn't have anything of any interest, but I saw the books on the wall. To the layperson they're merely decoration, but those are powerful texts. And the store is a perfectly safe place to put them -- few thieves are interested in books. And what proprietor of an herbal apothecary tells anyone that he stocks nothing of power or import?

"Those with nothing to hide insist that going on a nothing-but-ginseng-tea 'cleanse' and putting an image of a healthy you 'out into the universe' will cure your cancer -- one merely has to be on guard that they don't actually come into possession of something potent and mistake it for St John's wort."

Oz digs the White Hat gig, but he's glad Giles has never asked him to help. It's mutually understood that the invitation is open, and sometimes he offers suggestions -- having wandered through different circles in Rome than Giles has -- but mostly he just listens.

After Giles is finished, Oz tells him about the girl with the glittered plastic bracelets all the way up to her elbows who stood against a tree and watched him play his guitar for hours.

The stories they tell each other weave together around them. Oz knows they could be anywhere and is only glad that they are here.