I love my Willow. So many ways. So much. She's my life. She's what makes it. When we thought we weren't going to make it past the Ascension. . . we made love like scared, helpless kids and it turned us into adults. Definitely with the whacky. But it was also the first time sex ever felt *right*.
People think I'm not aware that there's life *beyond* Willow. Life beyond the here and now, the Dingoes, and Sunnydale. I am. Call me attention boy. I just don't have a lot to say about what I see. What's the point in wasting air with words when you can watch your girlfriend's hair turn twenty shades of dark red in the sun. . .or you can play your guitar and listen to magic come from six strings?
Its all about beauty. And there's a lot. In the world. Why bother with ugliness? I have to deal with that enough three nights a month. The rest of the time I may as well be a hermetically sealed can of Oz.
There *is* the sarcasm. I know Xander has a problem with it. But he has more problems with me than just my dry biting wit. That he's trying to work through. Admirable. . .considering that I, myself, was approaching Xandercide just a short time ago. Everyone else seems to deal with my occasional contributions to the one-liner pool just fine. Nothing ruffles Giles anymore. Buffy. . .I think she trusts me. Trusts me to be a good wolfboy and Slayerette. Rah-rah-rah. And my Willow? Well, I could recite the lyrics to every Doors song known to man back-to-back and my Willow wouldn't mind.
Although, she hasn't ever heard me say that much.
So why the sarcasm, Oz?
That's the million dollar question, Johnny.
Sometimes I think the biggest thing that changed my life was getting bitten by Jordy. Sometimes I think it was when Devon came to me back in 8th grade and we thought it'd be cool to call a band The Dingoes Ate My Baby even though neither of us could play an instrument. And sometimes I think it was Willow. Who *is* that girl? But then I wake up. . . and I know that the biggest thing was being born at all. Michael Clarence Osborne, Jr.--the mistake.
Will hasn't met my mom. And neither have I. The general consensus? She was a bitch. And Michael Clarence Osborne, Sr. refuses to tell me if that's in the werewolf sense or the metaphorical sense. He didn't want me. Neither did she. But she died. And my aunt and uncle. . . Jordy's parents, wouldn't let him give me away. It would be un-Christian, said the well-adjusted, know-it-all Mr. and Mrs. Wolf.
So I'm a mistake. A walking mistake who lives in the basement, the cave of protection that he's built for himself, so he doesn't have to remind his dad of the past. Who buries his time with a band, a computer, and the most loving spellcaster on the planet. And you wonder why I've got the proclivity for bitter words?
There I go. Doing that verbal thing again. So much for the tall silent type. Except without the tall.
Willow smells like fresh rain. And she tastes like my mate. That's all that really matters.
I'm Oz. *I was a teenage werewolf.* And now I'm whole.
Angel refolded the letter and slipped it back into the envelope. It had arrived a few days ago, and Doyle had dropped it on his desk with not so much as a word. . .none of his usual comments. The simplicity of the return address "Wolfboy, the Hellmouth" had probably shut him up.
Letters and e-mail from Willow arrived sporadically. And Giles had their number on speed dial, called at least once a week to consult on something old and occult. And sometimes Xander called *for* Giles, but Angel knew it was more to hear Cordelia's voice if she picked up. Just like Buffy did for him. But Oz? He and Oz had never really bonded. . .had never had a lot of time together. He'd almost thought the werewolf had sent this by accident.
But no. . .on the other side of the notebook paper Oz had written "To Angel" and the address on the envelope was written in the same careless scrawl, with the Agency's name and street.
"What's that?" The door jingled as Cordelia blew in, dumping her purse on the overstuffed couch that served as the waiting area for clients.
"Something from Oz," he murmured, leaning back in his chair.
"Oz?" Cordelia's elegant brows furrowed. . .perfectly theatrical. He still didn't understand why she wasn't finding any good roles. She'd always been the best actress in Sunnydale. "Short-anti-social-friends-with-two-of-my exes Oz? Why would he write to you?"
"I have no idea," he admitted, placing the envelope on top of the steadily growing pile of cases. And he couldn't resist. . .he picked up the phone and dialed, from memory, the number to Giles's house. It had become the new meeting place since all the kids had graduated. And they would probably be there.
One ring. Two. Three. Four.
And then, finally. . . a breathless ex-librarian. "H-hello?"
"Giles? Its Angel. Is Oz there tonight?" he wondered. "I need to talk to him. Its important."
There was a long note of silence on the other end of the line. And he felt his hackles rise. He looked up at Cordelia. . .and her face was slowly starting to pale. Oh no. No. His stomach tightened. . .and she was crossing the room, and taking his free hand in hers.
"A-angel. . .I don't know how you knew. . .b-but w-we lost Oz tonight. J-just a few hours ago."
Stuttered details came. . . but they filtered in one ear and out the other. Demon. . .attacking Willow. . .Oz charging. . .blood. "No," he whispered, even as the phone slipped from his limp fingers.
And Cordelia was taking the receiver, speaking softly and kindly to their old friend. . . unusual for her, but not unheard of. She hung it up for him, too. And then he felt her soft hands in his hair, stroking as she sat on the edge of the desk. "Oh, Delia. . .Delia, I had no idea."
"You couldn't have known," she told him gently, and her voice was wet. "He visited me in the hospital a-after my fall. . .he's the only one I would see. . .because I knew he understood how I felt. . .and I knew he wouldn't lie to me."
His hand shook as he reached for the letter again. . .and this time, he could smell the wolf's essence on the paper. . . and a hint of Willow's perfume.
Had he known? Had he known he would die? "I was a teenage werewolf," Oz had quoted.
You were more than that. And none of us knew. He pulled back, stared up into Cordelia's dark, sympathetic eyes. No acting here. "Read it," he whispered. "Read it and then I'll send it back to Sunnydale. I think Will would like to have it."
She nodded. . .and took the letter from his hands. He heard the gentle rasp of it coming out of the envelope. . .of her unfolding the scraggly edged notebook paper once more.
" 'I love my Willow'. . ." she began, softly, even though he hadn't told her to read it out loud. " 'So many ways.' "
But he didn't stop her. Instead, he lowered his head to her welcoming lap, and listened. This time, with his heart.
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