Note: A quick apology first as it has been so long between updates. In this chapter Oz enters the story. This chapter picks up in New Moon Rising (before Ginny was called) and thru to the end season six's episode Seeing Red (after Ginny is called). To understand what happens to Oz in the end of this chapter you'll need to remember what happens at the very end of that episode. There will be one more chapter without Gin, but then she will reappear in the story. I just need to get the circumstances set up that I need. This chapter does include information that might spoil you a bit for the book Oz: Into the Wild. Please consider yourself warned on this point.
Further Note: Maybe the most important note, I want to thank everyone who reviewed, especially those people who have sent me e-mails. I honestly didn't realize it had been as long as it has between updates. I also didn't think this story was very original. So thank you for telling me otherwise. I really appreciate it.
Oz watched Willow walk away. He felt as though she was taking his heart with her. She paused before she turned a corner to walk out of his life. She looked back towards him, gave him one of her sweet smiles and a wave. Pain crashed over him. He gripped the steering wheel tightly to keep from changing as he raised his hand and gave her a wave back.
Then she disappeared into the darkness of the campus and was gone from his life.
He turned the van towards the road that would take him from Sunnydale. Once again he'd leave her, once again he'd drive away.
What else was he to do? The woman he loved with everything inside him, loved another. Not even just another, but someone who in Oz's mind deserved her. He'd only met Tara briefly and through their last chance meeting had ended all too abruptly and horribly Oz felt he knew this. He did after all have the senses of a werewolf and Tara's scent silently whispered all that she was for those who were willing to take the time and ponder her. Tara smelled of goodness, sweetness and humanity all interwoven and curling in Oz nose, how could he not notice?
She had been there for Willow when he hadn't. She could be there for Willow how he couldn't. So Oz did the only thing for Willow that he could, he left.
He paused at Devon's first, apologizing to his bandmate over ever giving him hope that he, Oz, would once again be part of the Dingos.
"Oz, man, come on. No one writes like you."
"I'm sorry Devon, I can't."
Devon hadn't understood. He'd even gone so far as to say he'd never understand. His non-understanding didn't prevent him from forcing as many non-perishable food items as he could onto Oz. Oz tried to politely decline, but Devon wouldn't hear it.
"You have to eat."
Seeing that it was an argument he wasn't going to win Oz accepted the food and was once again on his way.
He paused at Giles', leaving a note that thanked the former watcher for all his help. If it hadn't been for Giles he'd have never gone to Fiji and spoke with Sarah Atwill. He wouldn't have found out about Master Shantou and Tibet. If it hadn't been for Giles he'd have been caught in the moons pull without the safety net that had been Qing and his family. Therefore he thanked Giles. He included a request that the Scobbies keep an eye on Jordy, just in case Cain decided to come snooping around. Then he ended by saying he owed Giles big, and that he'd not hesitate to help if the former Watcher needed it. He left the note in the mail box and drove away. He'd never been good with goodbyes.
Oz made his finial Sunnydale stop at Jordy's. The lights were on and Aunt Maureen answered the door. The shock in her face made him wish he hadn't stopped at all.
"It's not a cure," he told her feeling guilty over the disappointment in her eyes.
"It's still something," Uncle Ken said, "Look at you, Daniel you're human."
"Only if I'm in control."
They spoke at length and it was decided Oz would go back to Tibet. Jordy hadn't even hit his teens, with all its emotional ups and downs, yet. That in itself was the deciding factor that Jordy couldn't yet try to overcome his monthly transformation as Oz had.
Oz was no longer under the moons pull, but his transformations were not always of his own will. He now posed a threat that couldn't be locked away. Going back to Tibet was perhaps the only way for Oz to find the control he lacked.
Before, the first time he'd left Sunnydale to find a cure, it had been for Willow now it was for Jordy. He'd learn to control his lycanthropy if only to give Jordy hope that he would one day too learn control. He slept on their couch that night, and ate breakfast with Jordy in the morning. His Uncle offered to keep his van for him, to also try and get him plane tickets. He declined, he simply couldn't bring himself to accept. He'd made it to Tibet on his own before, he'd do it again. He stayed long enough to take the time to dye his hair blue. He knew that wasn't what Willow had meant, wasn't even close, but in some small way it made him feel closer to her. Then he thanked his relatives for their kindness, and promised to return if he found something better than Tibet, though he doubted he would.
Master Shantou asked questions when he returned, hard ones. Veruca had been right about one thing, he was no longer the boy he had been before he was bit. He could never be that human again, half his battle was accepting this. Slowly months crept by and he became more at ease with his duo nature. The urge to change into his werewolf form came less and less frequently. A sudden negative emotional change no longer had him changing out of control.
He and Jinan briefly entertained the idea of becoming a couple, but a new student arrived and she quickly became attracted to him. He pushed her to go and be with who she really wanted to and they remained friends.
Eventually he left Tibet and moved to New York. His family owned a house and land there and it was agreed that if Oz fixed up the house and paid his own bills that he could have it. Which of course led to his need to find a job, which lead to him to going back to his high school memories and with the right phone calls became a corporate computer suit guy complete with attending a local college to get a degree that would get him higher pay.
Life was all right. It wasn't Sunnydale, he didn't wake up each morning feeling as though he was accomplishing something worthwhile. Helping Buffy to save the world had given his life purpose besides band life and now his life was simply work and school. He'd never taken responsibility all that seriously, was always very laid back about it. He was still laid back, but now he actually felt life pressing in on him becoming a routine that didn't have him smiling when he woke up. Life left him wanting, longing for a sense of accomplishment or a purpose.
He contacted Devon, found out how the Dingo's were. He wrote a few songs, sent them on to Devon who as per usual told him how great he was. It made him wonder if he purposely wrote something crappy how Devon would respond. Everything he wrote now was a bit darker, but it helped him sort out the feelings he kept locked within him. Writing led to him feeling a sense of closure over knowing he'd never again be with the woman he loved.
Still it wasn't enough.
He began to patrol late at night. He whittled stakes and went out into the cemeteries. He was relatively safe from being eaten, apparently werewolf didn't taste all that good to vampires.
It was one of these late nights that he came upon a battle being waged around a truck. A man was standing on top and was apparently trying to beat his attackers away with a large stick. Odds were not in his favor. The man on the truck smelled human and the demon's trying to kill him smelled of hate and murder. Oz half changed and stepped in. The three demons apparently didn't like odd evening out and ran screaming to the man that he would die, pay for breaking his contract.
The man took in several breaths and stared at him, raising this stick in his hand and looked wildly around. Oz followed his gaze to a sword stuck in the ground not far away.
"I'm not going to hurt you," he told the man who glanced at him fearfully. Fear was rolling of him in waves and the wolf in Oz suddenly lurched forward with want. He had to close his eyes and take a deep breath to calm himself. By this time the man had made a leap off his truck for the sword.
"I'm not going to hurt you," Oz repeated as he changed himself back to human form, his words coming out less gargled this time.
The man didn't relax, but stepped back towards the sword asking, "Who sent you?"
The man blinked at him before grabbing the sword.
"You could tell me your name," Oz suggested.
"What are you? Who sent you? I'm not going back."
"Werewolf. No one. I'm Oz," he answered sticking his hand out.
The man took a step back, slightly calmer then before, but still giving off fear in waves.
"Take it. Calm down, cause the whole fear in your scent, not doing a thing for my control."
The man took a few deep breaths and calmed a bit before taking his hand and shaking it, "Lindsey."
Oz nodded and glanced at the truck, his eyes rested on the sign on the back. 'Cops Suck' it read. It was his turn to blink, but also keep an eye on Lindsey, cause well he still had that sword.
"Cause that won't get you pulled over," he commented.
Lindsey gave him a blank look and he pointed.
Lindsey shrugged, "It has sentimental value and demons are usually less likely to attack when I'm surrounded by cops."
Oz nodded and they blinked at each other uncomfortably. So Oz asked one or two questions to push Lindsey to talk about himself. They ended up a twenty-four hour restaurant and eventually he got Lindsey's story. Lindsey was surprised, but far more relaxed when he realized Oz had known Angel.
It was decided that Lindsey would stay with Oz, since it obviously wasn't safe for him to be out on his own with Wolfram and Hart trying to make him pay for resigning. Oz had actually run into Michael from Sunnydale at school and pulled him aside the next time he saw him. As it turned out they young Goth hadn't let the parent mob discouraged him from practicing magic. Together they masked Lindsey's presence and set up a protection spell around the house.
Shortly after Lindsey settled in, got a stay at home job, and was starting to accompany Oz on patrols Aunt Maureen and Uncle Ken had another child and Jordy to put it lightly freaked. He was worried that he'd accidentally bite his little sister and ruin her life as he had his cousin Daniel's. Oz reassured Jordy that his life hadn't been ruined and Jordy begged to come live with him.
His Aunt and Uncle agreed and arrangements were made. Jordy moved and settled into school easily. He and Lindsey got along better than Oz expected. Lindsey taught them the few things he knew about fighting with weapon, which was mostly only knowledge he'd gathered from book and Oz contributed by reteaching them the things he learned at his self-dense class.
Life fell into routine, mixed with the occasional demon bad guy. Oz felt as if he'd finally found a home away from Sunnydale. He had a good job, friends/family and a late night hobby that helped the world.
Then it happened. Jordy had just gotten off the phone with his parents, wishing them a good night. He'd already said his goodnight to Lindsey who was at the kitchen table skimming through an ancient book he'd managed to locate that might or might not have a prophesy that might or might not concern them. Oz sometimes mildly teased Lindsey that he was turning into Watcher Guy. Lindsey didn't seem to mind. Jordy was about to tell him goodnight when Oz felt the back of his neck start to prickle and sense of something bad happening washed over him.
Then he felt it, her soul screaming. Willow in agony, more agony then anybody should ever be in. It stunned him and he gasped nearly falling over. He barely managed to stumble into the basement and lock the door behind him before he lost control and became the wolf.