Blame it on the Rain

It was raining again as Oz finally drove the van out of town. He had meant to leave yesterday. Yesterday . . . the day he had lost Willow forever. The day he had lost her, not to another man, but to a woman. A pale, stuttering, timid woman who seemed scared of her own shadow. What did she have, Oz thought to himself, that he didn't? Oh yeah, she had Willow.

Thoughts like this wouldn't do him any more good today than they had yesterday. And they would most likely just keep leading him into trouble. Just like yesterday, when they had led him to two things: too much alcohol and Xander Harris.

It had been raining then, too. He'd stopped at a liquor store, prayed to the gods of fake ID's and near-sighted clerks, and walked out with a couple of six-packs and a bottle of whiskey, hoping like anything that, once he stopped for the night, the booze would help take away the pain of losing the love of his life, or at least dull it for a while.

Instead, he'd wound up stopping again on the way out of town. Xander had been walking in the rain and Oz had stopped to offer him a ride. He hadn't known that Xander didn't know about Willow and Tara. He'd never have said anything if he'd known that. At least he thought he wouldn't have. Normally, he kept his own counsel pretty well. But heartache had a way of making you need to talk to someone, anyone. And he chose to talk to Xander.

Xander had been surprised, to say the least. He'd made a tasteless remark about wishing that Willow and Tara went in for PDA's, then apologized, realizing he'd hurt Oz's feelings. Oz wondered about that. Were his usually well-concealed emotions so easy to read this time, or did Xander possibly know him better than he'd ever thought?

After that, he and Xander had really started to talk about how they felt about this new 'twist' of Willow's, and Oz had suggested stopping somewhere and partaking of the 'refreshments' he had purchased at the liquor store. Xander had readily agreed and Oz realized that a part of Xander was as wounded as he was by Willow's rejection of men. After all, she had loved both of them once. And now, out of the blue, she was gay.

So Oz parked the van and they got into the back. The booze flowed freely and the two shared their thoughts and insecurities. Had it been them? Was it something wrong with them that made Willow turn to women?

After a while, Oz was too drunk to drive and it was raining too hard for Xander to walk home. And then they were too drunk to talk anymore, too drunk to even tell themselves why what was about to happen was crazy and a bad idea. It all become a blur of lips and tongues and clumsy fingers tugging on shirts and zippers being hastily pulled down. There were mouths and moans and the taste of each other. And then there was nothing.

The next morning they awoke, miserable and aching and full of memories they each claimed they didn't have. Oz drove Xander home and said goodbye in his usual offhand way, as if nothing unusual had happened at all. But he waited to see that Xander entered his house safely. And he drove more slowly than normal on his way out of town. He'd lost more than Willow, he thought to himself. And he wished he had never come back to Sunnydale at all.