Disclaimer: If you think I own these characters I have a bridge to sell you and possibly even some beach front property. It's another Xandercentric fic with W/O pairing.
Oz ran, not fast, not gracefully, but he ran all the same.
His clothes had been shredded until only his pants remained and his skin was covered in so many cuts and bruises that his much abused lycanthrope healing factor was having a hard time keeping up.
Stumbling on a root he tumbled down the hill side, trying desperately not to hit any trees on the way down. Staggering to his feet he continued to run.
Two full moons…
He'd been on the run for weeks…months...years? Two full moons that he knew of had passed and even the wolf had been unable to deal with what was following him.
Bits and pieces of the battles between the two leaked into his exhausted mind.
A grunt of satisfaction, as a much smaller figure was slammed through a half rotted tree in a swamp, only to watch in shock as the mud covered figure shook off the blow and came back at him faster and harder then expected. Mud and blood completely covered the two figures, before the wolf finally had enough and ran.
A grunt of pain as he feels his ribs buckle. The small human had hit him much harder then anything that size should be able to. A harsh humorless barking laugh, that he was learning to fear, ringing in his ears as he growled back at it wondering why it wouldn't stop chasing him. He had left it's territory long ago…
Running on all fours, trying to put as much distance between himself and his pursuer as possible, before the sun rose and he was forced to run on only two slow feet, rather then the faster four he had at the moment. Weary beyond all reason, he ran on. Day and night alike had run together into one long exhausting twilight that he struggled through.
His teeth tearing into a rabbit, caught on the fly as he ran, only to realize that he was very much human at the time. Eating it raw anyway as he stumbled through a nameless forest with hunger gnawing at his belly. That harsh barking laugh echoing around him, driving him on.
Glancing up at the sky, he could tell the moon would soon rise, allowing him to gain some space from… the other. It was stronger and faster then him in close combat, but he ran much faster then it did. Hopefully he'd manage to get enough space to catch his breath and maybe another rabbit.
Following the hint of moisture in the air he found a spring of fresh water that he practically dove into. The cold water felt good on his cuts and bruises, and tasted great to someone panting with thirst. Splashing himself with it he tried to wash off some of the dirt he'd gotten fallen down the hill and hopefully help mute his scent a bit.
The glow of the full moon slowly rising was a welcome sight. The realization that he was in a small box canyon and that there was someone blocking the only way out was not. He didn't even have to look to know who it was. He was more then close enough to smell.
Oz's voice was as atonal as usual, but the rising moon and near total exhaustion gave it a certain gravely quality.
"I told you what I would do if you hurt her."
The ever present rage that had characterized his voice and his harsh barking laugh over the last few weeks was strangely absent, but the words held a grim finality that sent shivers down Oz's spine.
"It was for the best."
"Hurting Willow is never 'for the best'." A little of the rage was back, but it was a weak sister compared to what he had faced these last few weeks(months?).
"Better hurt then dead."
"Do you really think the wolf was trying to kill her?"
"It attacked her!"
Xander stood silently for a moment, just staring at him before asking.
"Because it wanted to kill her."
Xander crouched down, resting on his heels. His clothes had come through in much better condition then Oz's, so the tattered remnants of his shirt swaying in the breeze gave Oz something to concentrate on rather then looking into his slightly glowing green eyes.
"Do you really believe that?"
"Why else would it attack her?"
"You're the wolf, ask yourself that question."
"I am not…"
Oz's voice trailed off uncertainly as the events of the last few weeks/months passed through his mind. Given no choice and pushed to extremes the two sides of himself had to cooperate just to survive.
"I am the wolf."
The shock in his voice rapidly gave way to depression.
"I wanted to kill her?"
Xander snarled slightly before replying, scorn dripping from every syllable.
"Then why would you have killed Veruca? Think, damn it!"
Oz's eyes lost focus as he remembered.
"She was in danger. If she was more like me she would be able to protect herself better."
Oz's moment of reverie was broken as Xander spoke up.
"Every time you attacked one of us you went for the wound, not the kill. Anyone with half a brain could see what was going on. Unfortunately we apparently lent the one Scooby brain cell out and forgot to get it back. I'm not suppose to be the brains of our outfit, I'm the clown!"
The snarl he ended the sentence with drew a sarcastic laugh from Oz..
"So being chased through god knows where, with the repeating mantra of 'Can't stop, Clown will eat me.' echoing through my head, is just part of the quirky sense of humor of our group?"
"Nope. This was just my secondary role of Mr. Fixit for the group."
Oz's eyes widen and he moved back.
"You're going to fix me?"
The way his hands were protecting his crotch screamed his thoughts of what Fix meant to the animal side of the equation.
Xander grinned evilly.
The normally stoic lycanthrope whimpered and crouched lower in the water.
Xander snickered once more.
"Relax doggy, you've already been fixed."
Oz winced when an exploratory squeeze, to check the condition of his equipment, was just a trifle too firm.
"That's not what I meant when I said fixed."
Xander sighed tiredly, falling to his knees as the glow slowly faded from his eyes.
Oz glanced at the sky and froze starring at the newly risen full moon.
"Think of it as 10 years of meditating and trying to find yourself boiled down into a couple of weeks of pure hell. Life and death struggles tend to blow away the bullshit. You are you, even when you're the wolf. I just gave you no choice but to accept that, without a lot of navel gazing."
"Something hellmouthy that happened to me long before you joined the Scoobs. It's not something any of us like to think about and not something I'd choose to use, but something had to be done and I have a unique… insight into your condition. Being any type of were or something similar is all tied up in survival instincts. If the girls ask just claim we went hunting a shaman who showed you what to do. Nothing that happened goes beyond the two of us, ok?"
Oz simply nodded as he climbed out of the water and gave an exhausted Xander a hand up.
"About a mile away. I've been herding you back here for the last week. I figured seeing a full moon would convince you, plus you have to admit it was kinda cool."
Throwing one of Xander's arms over his shoulders, when Xander began to stumble, Oz helped him walk in the indicated direction.
"How did you manage to keep your pants through all the changes?"
"Check it. You know how the hulk always ended up in nothing but a pair of Levis?"
"I always did wonder about that. I just figured it was part of the comic code that the hero wasn't allowed to moon everyone."
Oz shrugged as he helped a staggering Xander up the hillside.
"I figured a couple of inches of spandex sewn into the seams would work. It's a lot easier to find your way home when you have pants."
"Why are they purple?"
"Ahhhh. Makes perfect sense."
The two fell silent as they concentrated on getting to the van, with Oz practically carrying an exhausted Xander.
At the Van
"You came back and moved my van to a campsite?"
"Best place to put it. Anyone seeing it will figure you're off hiking, besides if I had left it on the side of the road it would've been towed by now."
Safely dressed in some non-shredded clothes and having rested a little, as well as having consumed massive amounts of coke and twinkies, Oz finally spoke up about what Xander knew had to be bothering him.
"So you have no real problems with all of us growing fur?"
Xander simply shrugged.
"Buffy is immune, being as how she is the slayer and all, and I can't be infected by something weaker then what I already have and no I'm not going to explain. I keep it locked down most of time cause it can't play well with others. I only let it out for this because it was something we could both understand. Most of the time we can't understand each other, too alien."
Silence fell between the two as the van pulled out of the campsite and headed back towards Sunnydale.
"So you don't mind Willow getting furry?"
"How do you figure?"
"Lycanthropy is a sexually transmitted disease."