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

something he never got in high school and zen by osmosis
By Pesha
For Rabid X

High school is a right of passage. In Sunnydale, that's a pretty literal thing, in fact. High school for Xander Harris passed by in a blur of apocalypses, (Apocalypses? Is that even a word? Who gets to put a plural on apocalypse anyway?) opened Hellmouths (Well, okay, just the one Hellmouth with the opening but it was several potential openings of the same Hellmouth so---moving on now.), ritual sacrifices, and occasionally torturous experiences that other people –the ones who didn't live in Sunnydale but still went to public high schools- could relate to like proms and being picked last in gym and stuff.


Wasn't something Xander Harris did.

He did get a job though. A real job that paid a real wage that he was actually really good at in a mediocre kind of way. He enjoyed it at any rate and it paid money that he used to pay bills. Real bills. Of his own.

Then there was another apocalypse and these terrible horrible no-good-very-bad things happened and it was all fun and games (except that it wasn't, not remotely) until somebody lost an eye and now?

Now Xander is watching Dawn Summers graduate from high school with tears leaking from his eye (Yeah. Seriously. Just the one. What? You really thought your mother was only kidding with that warning when you were little?) and thinking about all the good, bad, and even ugly things from high school that he missed.

"Xan? You okay there?" Willow asked, her arm all snuggly around Kennedy's waist. Kennedy even looked concerned which was enough to make Xander wish he'd eaten one less donut at the before-party-party.

"Yeah! Fine. Super-fine! Just call me Jim Dandy here. I think I'm just going to head on though. Catch a---get there first, you know? Make sure everything's. There."

Xander didn't give the girls time to stop him before he turned and went for it. He was hardly the first one thinking escape looked like a good plan of action so it was easy to get lost in the press of step-fathers, absentee dads, loitering boyfriends, and bothered older brothers as he made his way out of the auditorium and back into the bright sunshine.

He took a quick breath of air to steady himself, closing his eye to let the heat of the day sink into his skin, and –for a moment, Xander was almost able to convince himself it was the heat of Southern California and his youth rather than Southern Italy and Dawn's. Xander had almost gotten himself back into a full-on daydream when he was jarred by a familiar voice hesitatingly calling his name.




Xander's eye popped open to stare in shock at the werewolf who was casually loping up to greet him, battered backpack slung over one shoulder, hair too long, and face too calmly familiar to possibly be real. Xander avoided mirrors frequently and with good reason but he knew how kind time had (not) been to himself; Oz seemed to have no issues with that at all, looking alarmingly the same as the last time that Xander had seen him live and in person.

"Oz? What are you doing here?"

"I like Italy this time of year. All the wine festivals are going on."

Oz shrugged tightly muscled shoulders beneath the snug fit of his worn band t-shirt. Xander stared because he couldn't help himself. He was still thinking too much about high school and he wished so fiercely that this could simply be noon on the quad again that he knew he had to act fast before Willow could decide to take Dawn outside for better photos or something and it would all be ruined completely.

"You don't drink wine."

"No, but the food they serve at these things is amazing. What about you though? You here for the food?"

Xander stared some more before admitting.

"It's a long story but mostly I can't think of anything to say because I don't think you've ever said so many words to me all at once before."

Oz laughed shortly, almost a bark, "Yeah. After spending months alone in the wilderness trying to find yet another home remedy for lycanthropy, I tend to get chatty when I run into a human I actually want to talk to. Come to think of it. That doesn't happen often."

Xander's mouth twitched as Oz cocked his head to the side to announce casual as ever: "Weird."

"Want to grab some food with me? Tell me about what brings you out so far?"

It wasn't a real question. They were already walking.


The trattoria they wound up in was far enough away from the new Slayer base that Xander was unconcerned he'd be found out before he was ready to be. He half-way wondered if Oz somehow knew to take him so far off his beaten path but dismissed it as more idle fantasy. He couldn't believe how completely the same Oz looked despite the years that had passed.

Xander laughed without meaning to, then he couldn't stop. He laughed until he was crying again and pounded on the table gasping for air as he realized how totally, utterly, completely screwed-up he was because he was in Italy having dinner with Oz who was a werewolf and it was all okay.

Oz pounded him on the back and the width of his palm burned real, heavy, and wide into Xander's back as the werewolf landed a solid blow on him to get him breathing deeply again. Xander settled as quickly as he could, wondering if it were possible to get Zen by osmosis or if his body just knew it was in its best interests to settle-down-now before Oz went all full moon his ass.

"I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I think I'm overwhelmed or something. Whelmed maybe. I'm something. It's Italy and you look totally the same and we're having dinner together and I have one eye and my wife is dead and I was just thinking about high school when you called my name and I think I'm having some sort of panic attack so I'm going to shut up now. I'm shutting up. I am."

He drank some water to keep from allowing more words, more stupid, stupid words from spewing out of his mouth like a fountain of stupid word-water. He was drinking. Xander was drinking. He drank until the water glass was empty and took several more deep breaths besides before daring to look in Oz's direction once more.


There he was: Oz. Same old Oz with his red hair and his calm and his Zen and his cool looks that only seemed to have gotten cooler with age.

Xander couldn't stop the stupid.

"In high school, this would have never happened. You were so cool. You wouldn't have sat with me like this. Alone. We didn't hang out like this then. I missed you. This. And we didn't even have this then. Isn't that stupid?"

"I would have hung out with you then. I wasn't cool. I just didn't care. People thought that was cool, I guess."

Oz cocked his head considering.

"You had a wife?"

Xander leaned his head on his fist, traced circles into the water droplets on the outside of his glass.

"No. Not really. That was more stupid. It was Anya. We didn't make it to the wedding. I was scared. I wanted her to be my wife though. I still think of her that way. She died in the big showdown. Saving Andrew of all people."

Xander snorted and rolled his eye before noticing that Oz still had his head cocked. Oh.

"Right. You don't really remember Andrew I guess. He was our guestage. A hostage who sort of became a guest. He baked a lot then. Now he's a little less Betty Crocker and a little more M from James Bond but he's still completely gay. Not in a happy way but in a Larry kind of way, if you know what I'm saying. He's in love with me."

Xander shut up again. The stupid was leaking out and he wished he had more water. He was eyeing Oz's glass when it was carefully pushed towards his hand.

Oz nodded encouragingly so Xander drank more to drown out the stupid. He hated being stupid. He swallowed until the glass was empty and he felt bloated and washed out and wished that he could be cool for just one minute so that Oz might not want to go away so fast because he'd missed---not Oz really but Oz-related-things. High school maybe or more likely just something that smacked of home.

It had been so long since Xander had allowed himself to think of home. Thinking about home usually led to thinking about Anya and that hurt so much –more than thinking about losing his eye or dying himself, it hurt that much. But. Even thinking about Anya with Oz wasn't so bad. Maybe Zen was catching.

"You missed me?"

Oz sounded almost wistful. Like he'd wanted to be missed. Like it would be nice to know that Xander had missed him.

Xander smiled at him crooked and not-quite-sure. Oz wasn't the kind of guy who needed reassurance in Xander's mind. He couldn't imagine Oz being anything less than totally complete in and of himself except that he could if he tried, if he remembered what Oz's face had looked like when he'd seen Xander kissing Willow, his girlfriend. But. Xander wasn't thinking about that. That was over. This was now and it was Italy and Xander might be stupid but he could still hear even if he was half-blind.

"Yeah. You were my friend, man. You are my friend. You're the coolest guy I've ever known. There were times I wanted to be you, Oz. Trust me. I've thought about you over the years."

Oz smiled at that.

"I always wonder about you guys. All of you. Not just Will. I'm glad you're mostly okay."

He shrugged and looked away, like if he did maybe Xander's eye wouldn't be missing when he looked back and he could see the boy he'd remembered sitting across from him instead of the man that Xander knew himself now to be.

"I am, you know. Mostly okay. You though? You look exactly the same. Exactly."

Oz laughed his short barking laugh again that made Xander wonder how often the werewolf got the chance to do that.

"Lycanthropy has its benefits, I guess. I don't age like humans do. I age. I'll die. I just---won't for a long time."

Oz's face scrunched up then and Xander knew he was trying to not say something stupid himself. It was comforting to know he wasn't alone in the whole stupid thing. Or maybe he just had indigestion from the rich food. He was Oz after all. Oz might be too cool to be stupid. He was---

"You're freaking out again. Is it me? Do I freak you out? 'Cause you don't have to stay if you have some place to be. You can tell me. Or not," Oz shrugged noncommittally, "I won't mind. I'm used to people being uncomfortable around me now. It comes with the whole werewolf thing. Some people can sense the animal inside."

Xander laughed and stared again. He tried to sense anything animalistic about Oz, he even leaned in closer and almost laughed again when Oz seemed to just let him. All he got from getting closer to Oz was the scent of whatever soap he used and a little thrill from being that close to invading the werewolf's space. He was spending too much time with Andrew.

He straightened in his seat again. The wait staff came to refresh the water glasses and Xander used it as an excuse to look at anything but his dinner companion while he tried to will his blush away. He was a grown man. He was not blushing because he had sniffed a werewolf to try to smell the wolf on him. He wasn't.

"Too close to the wild side?" Oz guessed quietly.

"No. I was thinking I was spending too much time with Andrew."

Oz laughed loud enough to startle the dining party at the table across from theirs. Xander laughed with him nervously because he didn't get the joke but it seemed as though it should be funny. Maybe. He didn't think he was cool enough to hang out with Oz even now, when he was in Italy and it was years and lifetimes since high school. He was more outspoken since then though. He could ask. Or something.

"You've met Andrew?"

"No. I was just thinking it was funny that you were interested when it wasn't even season."

Xander choked on his water.


Oz grinned, "In mating season, even males give off pheromones that sometimes humans can scent and it has –in the past- been something that has led to some pretty interesting situations for me, but it's not season. I'm not even close in fact. I never figured you for the experimental type, Xander."

"Xander? What happened to Harris?" Xander asked, stunned mostly but sort of amused at the same time because? Oz? Said his name. Very much of the good.

"I figure we're potentially going to mate tonight so," Oz gave a shorter, sharper version of his classic shrug, "First name basis has been reached. Plus, I think I've saved your life before. That gives me dibs on your first name should I choose to use it."

"Does this mean I can call you Daniel?"

"Not even remotely. Unless you want me to declare my alpha status by tearing out your throat with my teeth during the actual intercourse, that is."

"Duly noted," Xander gulped a quick drink of soothing, non-stupid-making water.

"Do you realize we're talking about mating –as in sex- between the two of us in a public restaurant and we're not being funny? At all funny?"

Oz stole the water glass out of Xander's hand and turned it to press his lips against the imprint of Xander's own on the glass before taking a quick sip.

"Werewolf thing," he remarked off-hand, "I thought I was being mildly facetious. Not quite?"

Xander nodded. His head felt stupider. More stupid. He wondered if all the water bloating out his stomach was pressing on more nerves than the ones in his bladder and causing him to have waves of stupid-thoughts.

"I have to pee."

He stood up and was walking towards the bathroom in the back. Oz stood abruptly in front of him and Xander was distinctly unnerved by the tight press of his body to Oz's.

"I have to use the bathroom?" He tried.

Oz nodded, serious and sedate, "I am in favor of this plan. We should try that first."

Xander didn't try to move around the smaller man. He knew it wouldn't do him a lot of good and besides: they were in public.

"You're not letting me go alone are you?"

Oz nodded a negative, "Werewolf thing. Sorry."


Xander sighed before motioning Oz to precede him to the dimly lit recess of the trattoria where the lavatories were advertised to be located.


It was hard to pee when someone was literally breathing on the back of your neck, waiting, listening, watching. Xander finally managed and had only gotten himself put away when Oz was pushing him around, shoving him back against the wall between the urinals.

Xander yelped as his head banged into the cool tiles and again when Oz's fingers jerked his zip down hard enough for him to feel the bite of metal into his mostly soft flesh. He couldn't think as Oz pushed his hand –as wide and strong and hot as Xander remembered from the blow to his back- into his open fly and Xander thought he was drowning on stupid-water when Oz stretched up to kissbite at his mouth.

He was moaning, whining against Oz's lips when he noticed the crick in his neck and his erection was already hard enough, ready enough to have become moist at the tip by the time that he came to his senses enough to pull back.

"You're short."

Oz mouthed at his jugular, bit hard enough to leave a mark, and there was something seriously disturbing about almost coming from having a werewolf bite on your neck Xander was certain. Even if he was stupid-water sick, he was sure there something not-quite-right about that.

"I know."

"I had forgotten. I think I always forget. You're like---a big personality or something. I just---forgot," Xander mumbled through kisses, wishing Oz would shove him on his knees and make him stop talking stupid or or or something.

Xander had never wanted something that way. He was sure. He was sure he could blame any residual cool he had going on from osmosis-acquired Zen from Oz but he was equally certain he couldn't blame wanting something on his knees from osmosis-acquired whatever from Andrew. That was disturbing.

Xander wanted Oz to say something. To offer up some Zen proverb that would perfectly sum up what was happening to him right now, right here, in the bathroom of a restaurant in Italy with a werewolf he hadn't seen in years who might or might not have been his high school hero depending on whether one counted Buffy or not.

Instead, Oz shoved off his own shorts and managed to hook his leg over Xander's hip in a way that shoved his hardhardhard dick into the slit in Xander's slacks and then Xander wasn't sure what was actually happening but it felt a lot like sex and a lot more like falling off a cliff into a Hellmouth of yes, please, more if you can, oh yeah, just like that, yesyesyes.

Oz rutted himself against Xander and he bucked back as much as he was able with the solid weight of Oz pressed against, onto, and all-the-way around him. The heat made them both sweat and the small fan in the lavatory was only enough to make Xander that much more aware of it.

It startled him when he came, sputtering stupid stuff into Oz's mouth as the werewolf jerked and fucked against him until he too was shooting hot release into Xander's shorts and they had just done it in a bathroom. In Italy.

Xander had just done it with a werewolf –with Oz the werewolf!- in a bathroom in Italy and there was something inherently wrong with that. Somewhere. He was certain with all the certainness he could muster up with the three brain cells he still had working for him in his corner.

He wanted to slide down the wall to curl up, to rest, to wipe the hot smudges of spunk out of his pants before they dried. Xander wanted to do a lot of things but mostly he wanted to move away from the wall that Oz had him pinned to like prey and that seemed to be a bone of contention as Oz seemed inclined to do anything except that.

Oz, in fact, seemed to want to do more things that involved Xander being pinned to the wall. Perhaps permanently since Xander thought he was going to melt right into the tiles as Oz fisted his shirt seriously before going onto his knees in front of him and jerking down Xander's slacks in an embarrassingly hot kind of way that looked entirely too easy from where Xander was looking.

Then Oz was licking him.

Licking him.

Xander was man enough to admit that he made many possibly not-quite-manly sounds as his too tender flesh was licked way too seriously by Oz's way too intensely friendly –and talented! Very very talented!- tongue. His eye rolled back in his head and he might or might not have briefly went unconscious as he shot out a half-hearted second release onto Oz's mouth as his tongue kept licking and lapping at the already-wet head of his penis.

Xander grabbed Oz's hair without thinking anything except stop and his fingers stilled as he heard a very real, very serious kind of growl emanate from the mouth currently sucking at his hipbone.

"Okay. Sorry. Sorry. I just. I can't. I can't anymore. Sorry. Sorry," Xander said again because he didn't think it was possible to say that enough to someone whose face he had just ejaculated on with embarrassingly short notice. Especially not when one was considering that the person he had ejaculated on only seemed to want to lick at him until he could do it again. And possibly again and again and again and then one more time considering how seriously Oz was still licking at the skin of his lower abdomen.

Oz gave one last lick to his belly button before standing with his customary abruptness. He managed to do it while putting his own shorts back in place as though it weren't weird at all. As though it were the thing to do. The cool thing to do that Xander couldn't seem to manage since his fingers were numb and he was afraid that all the blood was gone from his head so he'd only fall down if he tried to bend over to pull his slacks back up.

He wished he had some more of Oz's Zen. Oz must have smelled that on him or something with his cool werewolf powers because he was there for him then, pulling his slacks back up and even putting them back to rights for him. Xander would bet without even looking in the mirror that he could have walked right out of that restroom with no one the wiser if it weren't for his face (which he didn't have to look in a mirror to see how totally just-got-laid it looked).

"Can you say something now?" Xander tried.

Oz thumbed a stray drop of fluid-Xander-was-not-thinking-about from his cheek and licked it off with his too-pink tongue before replying sagely, "Not really."


Xander had missed a message somewhere. He really had. He hadn't been cool enough in high school to learn the message that was being sent here. That had to be it.

Oz shrugged with complete assurance, "You said I was short. I know. You forgot. I didn't. Not much else to say there."

Xander stared hard with his good eye, "I meant about the licking. Or the—the other. You could say something about that."

Oz grinned.

"Werewolf thing. Sorry. I like my scent on you."

Xander wondered if he should be scared by how that made him feel. By how seriously not-Zen that made him feel.

"You're sure it's not like mating season here in Italy and no one told you? That might be why..." Xander let his voice trail off. He didn't need to say more than that.

Oz was quintessentially Zen. Quintessentially Zen people did not need to be explained when someone was asking for a logical explanation for something happening.

"'Fraid not," Oz responded with a low, low laugh, "I think that just happened because you liked me enough for me to smell it and want it and get triggered by it."

"Oh. So you were triggered by me wanting something?"

Oz looked at him seriously, the very essence of all things serious and Zen.

"I get triggered a lot by humans who are interested. I don't act on it. Not really. Not ever for a really long time. I'm more man than animal in that sense."

Xander nodded because he got that. He did. Oz was all wolf-y but not all wolf-y.

"I wanted to mark you because I like you, Xander. That cool? That I like you?"

Cool? Was that cool? It was beyond cool that Oz liked Xander Harris.

If it were high school, Xander would have been freaked out beyond all measure that Oz liked him. But. It was Italy and a long, long road from home and high school. So. He was Zen. He was the essence of Oz-osmosis-Zen and, for the first time in possibly forever, Xander felt cool because----something.

"I like you too," Xander said instead of something, "You're cool, Oz. You're---beyond cool."

He wondered what he was supposed to say next but didn't want to start with the stupid-talking and, thankfully, Oz wasn't the kind of guy who left a guy hanging because he responded fast enough to stop the stupid in its stupid-tracks.

"Cool. You want to come back to my place then? We can get a lot more comfortable there and I'll show you some more wolf things. If you're interested, I mean."

Oz looked away and again Xander was struck by how totally human that made him.

"I'm more than interested," Xander blurted, fast and serious because Oz deserved to hear it and because he knew it would make Oz look back at him.

Oz did look back. He even grinned.


When they left the trattoria together, Xander smiled at the dying sun on his face, closed his eye, and –for the first time in too long a time- didn't wish he were anywhere but here now in Italy.

He blamed it on Oz and his osmotic Zen and thought it was really great to not ever have to be in high school again.