Chapter 2

As they left an hour later to go to the library, Dean noticed Sam throwing him odd, sidelong looks.

"What?" asked Dean.

Sam just shook his head. "You. . .just don't seem yourself, that's all."

"Well, it's kind of a lot to take in, isn't it? A cure for lycanthropy? That's heavy. I've been scared of werewolves since I was ten."

"Yeah, and now you're. . .the opposite of scared?"

"What? What's that supposed to mean?"

"Nothing. It's none of my business Dean, really. I'm just. . .concerned that you seem to believe him so easily, that's all."

"We saw him ourselves last night."

"We saw that he could stay in human form during a full moon. This full moon. What about the last one? We're still investigating two gristly murders, remember?"

Dean paused to unlock the Impala. "Yeah, but do you actually believe Oz could've done it? He's so. . .calm and collected."

"It seems like lycanthropy is a Jekyll and Hyde kind of thing. It's possible that the calmer the guy, the more fierce the wolf."

"Hm. Maybe. Kind of like how the quiet ones are the wildest in the sack."

Sam blinked. "No comment."

********

Dean went back to the bar that night. He found an excuse to stay late – Oz worked until closing time. There wasn't much of a crowd to interfere as he thoroughly monopolized Oz's time. They talked about music, monsters, and a little about magic. Well, Dean did most of the talking. He regaled Oz with his most exciting hunting stories. He told his best jokes. When the tried and true method of asking questions to get Oz to talk about himself didn't work, he resorted to making flattering comments about his clothes and hair.

Oz kept his pretzel bowl filled, so Dean figured he must be doing something right.

It wasn't until, after his fourth beer, he was in the bathroom trying to decide which cologne to buy (I know it drives chicks wild, but would a guy like the smell of this? And would it be too strong for a werewolf?), did he realize exactly what he was doing.

Oh my god, I'm trying get lucky with a dude! Who's a werewolf. Who's also a DUDE!!

The realization hit him like an ice brick. Dean took a good look at himself in the mirror, noticing the telltale flush of alcohol and arousal. If he could've reached out and punched himself, he would've. He settled for splashing his face with cold water.

He'd make his excuses and leave. It was getting late anyways. Oz would

understand. He was the very soul of understanding.

Dean pictured Oz standing there, wiping a glass, listening to whatever lame-ass excuse Dean could come up with. In his eyes, a kind of amusement. Those pale green eyes that seemed to say everything his face didn't. The ones that caught the moonlight and threw it back as sharply as any blade.

Dean shook his head, trying to avert this line of thought before it traveled up and down the rest of Oz's body, contemplating the rest of his. . .contemplatables.

Too late.

Yeah, he's a dude, and yeah, he's a werewolf, but he's smokin' hot!

Dean looked down.

"I hope you know what you're doing, big guy," he muttered.

Have I ever steered you wrong?

"Well, there was that one hare-lipped girl in Des Moine."

Hey, she was a wildcat in the sack!

"You're right, you're right. Okay, then. You're the boss."

Damn straight.

Dean's upstairs brain had its swan song of the night when he decided against the cologne and spent his change on a condom instead.

********

The bar closed eventually, and Dean stayed to watch Oz wipe up. Oz had a room in a small motel nearby, and Dean offered to walk him home.

The night was cool and clear. The now-waning moon was still almost round enough to look full.

"So Dean, what are you doing in this town?" Asked Oz, initiating the conversation for the first time that night.

Dean shrugged. "Looking for a werewolf. We think. Probably not you, or at least I hope not." Dean grinned at Oz playfully. "You didn't tear two people to shreds last month, did you?" He asked, teasingly.

"No." Oz replied.

"Heh. Didn't think so."

"I've made a conscious decision not kill anyone this year." Oz continued gravely.

Dean sobered. "Oh," he replied. "Good for you."

Seeing Dean's reaction, Oz shook his head. "Sorry, I keep forgetting that my sarcastic voice sounds a lot like my non-sarcastic voice. That was supposed to be a joke, Dean."

It was the first time Oz had said his name. Dean liked hearing his name coming from Oz's lips.

"Oh! Good one. Very funny." Dean grinned.

Oz sighed. "I'm working on it. Anyways, strangely enough I think we're looking for the same wolf. The one who killed those people."

"Which wasn't you, right?"

"Right. I wasn't being sarcastic about that part."

Dean nodded. They approached the motel Oz had pointed out earlier.

"Don't mind if I ask, but why?" Dean inquired as he followed Oz around the building.

"I think he's carrying a prisoner."

"Oh. A girlfriend?" Asked Dean. "Or. . .a boyfriend."

Oz raised an eyebrow at the implication, but didn't seem offended. He shook his head. "No. Just someone. . .who might be important."

He stopped at what Dean assumed was his door.

"Good. Sure. That works for everyone then," said Dean absentmindedly.

Oz nodded as he smiled ever so slightly. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his keys. He looked at Dean, and his mouth opened to say something.

Dean didn't let him say anything. In one swift, hungry motion he had Oz backed against the door, their lips pressed together with his hands grasping his shoulder and waist.

Oz reached an arm out towards the doorknob to keep his balance. Dean pulled him even closer, pressed their bodies together as much as he could.

Dean felt feverish. Oz tasted like autumn air. His lips were soft and pliant. Bringing one hand up rest on Oz's neck, thumb stroking his jaw, Dean broke the kiss for just a little to let them both catch their breath.

He looked into Oz's eyes, expecting to see desire, lust. He didn't.

Oz brought his hands up between them and shoved Dean off hard enough to send him sprawling into the gravel over twelve feet away.

Dean coughed as he gingerly tried to lift himself. He felt like the breath had been knocked out of him, thought maybe it was just the shock. He had a bad scrape on his right elbow, pebbles embedded in both bleeding palms. Wincing, he sat up.

Oz was standing there silently, looking at him with an expression that was suddenly frightening for being so unreadable. Dean could see that he was breathing deep and hard, and it was like their first meeting all over again – like cold adrenaline had been pumped into his veins.

Finally Oz looked down. He closed his eyes for a moment, and when he looked back up again Dean could see something softer there, something much less terrible.

"I've got some ointment for those scrapes, if you need it, and bandages." He said calmly.

Dean shook his head as he carefully pushed himself up to his feet, trying not to get his clothes full of blood. Dammit, if these aren't my best jeans, he thought to himself. He tried not to think of anything else as he turned and started limping away.

"Dean, stop. Dean!"

Dean stopped, turned around to look at Oz. Tried to come up with a good apology, if that was what it turned out Oz was after.

"Look, Dean. . .did I do, or say something to make you think that I was interested in. . .anything like that?" It seemed as though Oz had used up all of his anger in the one forceful act, and now he was just genuinely puzzled and concerned.

Dean thought about it. "No. Not really. I was just. . ."

So totally broadsided by my own stupid lust that I didn't even notice your complete lack of interest.

Dean shrugged, shook his head. "Sorry. My mistake." He turned around again to leave.

"Wait, Dean."

Dean turned around, waited while Oz looked at him, searching for words.

"I still want to help you. With the hunt."

Dean considered this, then shrugged again. "Sure. Sam and I will be in town for a week at least. You know where to find us."

Oz seemed to accept this. "Okay."

Dean turned to leave again, and once again Oz stopped him.

"Are you sure you don't want something for those scrapes? You might bleed on your car."

Looking down at his hands, Dean smiled wryly. "Yeah, okay."

********

Dean returned to find Sam waiting up. Their eyes met briefly when Dean slunk into the room, but Dean looked away, rubbing at his palms.

"What happened?" said Sam, rising up from his slouched position on the room's only chair, noticing the bandages on Dean's hands and elbows.

Shaking his head, Dean muttered, "Nothing. Just. . nothing. A stupid mistake." He went into the bathroom to brush his teeth.

Sam waited for a further explanation, but after a few minutes, he knew that there wouldn't be one. He pulled off his shirt and began making his own preparations for sleep. He was concerned for Dean – it was the same concern that kept him up waiting for his return, but Dean would talk on his own time, or not at all.

Emerging from the bathroom, Dean tossed his clothes onto a chair and climbed gingerly under his covers, turning away from Sam to face the wall.

Sam dropped into his own bed a minute later, and was nearly asleep when Dean finally spoke.

"He wants to help us investigate the murders," said Dean.

"Oz?"

"Yeah."

Sam considered this. "I don't think that's such a good idea."

Dean rolled over onto his back to look up at the ceiling. Sam noticed that their eyes hadn't met since he got back.

"Well, I do," replied Dean.

Sam opened his mouth to deliver a protest, but closed it again. "You really like him, don't you? I mean, well. . .in a more than friendly way." he finally said.

With a soft groan, Dean brought one hand up to cover his face. "Is it that obvious?"

Sam chuckled. "Only to me. Although I have to admit I was a little surprised."

"You were surprised? You don't know the half of it." Dean shook his head and was quiet for a moment, contemplating something Sam could only wish he'd share. Instead, he turned to Sam with a cocky grin. "So I guess I've found a werewolf. Can we keep him?"

"Only if he doesn't shed on the Impala."

"Right."

********