Summary: Feed the monster, and it sticks around. Damon tries to engage Oz in a conversation, and fails. Pitifully. Buffy the Vampire Slayer/The Vampire Diaries crossover.
Prompt/Prompter: Written for Wishlist 2011. Vesselandpestle gave this prompt, "…Stefan has Lexie and Damon has Oz. What, you thought he didn't have cool friends?"
Disclaimer: I don't own Buffy the Vampire Slayer or The Vampire Diaries (TV).
A/N: Set during early season 1 of TVD and post BtVS, not taking the comics into account really. The title is based on the Metallica song of the same name. For me, the lyrics seemed to relate well to the TVD vampire's ability to "flip the switch" inside of themselves, and how emotions aren't easily put to rest.
"Until It Sleeps"
Damon let the glass clap the wood of the counter beneath, ran his finger around the smooth rim, and starred down at the amber drop of bourbon still at the bottom. The taste against his tongue was nutty, warm, and it reminded him a little of his first drink of the evening. The memory left him swiping his tongue at the crease of his lips, even though any evidence of his snack was long gone. Without meaning to, he gave the world a cocky smirk—damn, his waitress appetizer been…talented, and the flavor combination was delightful.
"It was just a little fun," Damon mused, to himself. "Nothing worth brooding over."
Then, as if he needed the confirmation, he let this gaze go sideways, search the man at the other barstool for movement. And, Oz did move. He lifted his beer, sniffed it, and put it back in place, untouched.
"Okay," Oz finally said. His face was as stoic and pale as usual, a day's growth of red stubble only barely showing along his jaw-line. Not a single twitch betrayed his thoughts.
Damon chewed his own smile, forcing himself to keep it in place, but a hint of frustration lit his bright blue eyes. "She won't even remember it. You know what she will remember? Having a good time with a hot guy during her break—because let's face it, I'm worth tweeting about. No harm, no foul."
"Okay," Oz repeated, after another heavy pause.
Damon waited for more. It didn't come. "She enjoyed it," he added, an afterthought. "Kinda more than usual actually… Maybe she had a fetish?"
Oz slid in his seat, his western-cut sheep skin coat brushing one tan panel against the edge of the counter. For a moment, it appeared he might be turning to face the vampire, but, instead, he slid one-eighty, back to the shelves of glass, front to the small stage beyond the litter of crowded tables, where a college student—skinny jean, flannel, and beard sliding him dangerously close to hipster territory—was awkwardly gripping a mike, his like-styled mates moving in the background. Setting up.
Damon followed the gaze, gave the group a glance, and snarled, just a little. This wasn't his usual hangout. Likely not Oz's either. Damon was determined to not be in the vicinity by the time the mewling began. Yet, he didn't budge, instead motioning for another drink.
"You're as bad as my brother—wait, that's unfair. No one's as bad as Stefan." Damon paused again, waited, received no comment. "I'm staying with him again—not that he wants me there, which is, of course, precisely why I wouldn't dare leave. Home sweet home. Ever been to Mystic Falls, Oz? Few hours south of here by car."
"No." Oz eyes stayed focused on the almost-hipsters, as if there was something fascinating about their process.
Damon clenched his jaw, threw back his drink, and finally shifted to face the same direction as the other man. "Such a nice little place, Mystic Falls…Quite the history, colorful citizens, quaint downtown area, family-friendly events almost every week."
The corner of Oz's mouth twitched. Almost a smile, almost a spark of what had once been, and Damon clung to it, pleased to hear the words, "That bad?"
Damon threw his head back, groaning dramatically. "Horrible! Boring. Sucks. Also, has a very limited food supply… So, of course, Stefan is thriving there. As much as one can thrive with me stomping on their face." Damon watched the band a moment longer, figured he could probably maneuver one of them to the bathroom, snap his neck. Ruin the show. Then Oz would have to pay attention, right? Damon frowned. Probably not—he only barely stopped himself from huffing at the thought. "Of course, there are a few perks of the extra perky variety…Other than getting to torture my brother, that is. Like his adorably oblivious girlfriend."
Damon reached back and scooped up his fresh shot, letting the scent drift up to meet him. He watched the crowd, picked out a few pretty faces worth bringing back, but found himself too lazy to bother keeping up with them.
"Elena Gilbert." The name slipped out of his mouth. A response, like a curse after a stubbed toe. "Who looks exactly like her… Because, why the hell wouldn't she?" Damon poured back the drink, blinked lazily out at the world, too bright for a bar. "So, of course, Stefan would find a look-alike, out of all the women in the world, he'd find this Elena…" Damon stretched his neck, kept his eyes wide open so he wouldn't have to blink and see that likeness. "She's got this delicious little friend, Caroline—you know, I should really introduce the two of you. See, she has this incessant chatter that's almost impossible to listen to. With you being as mute as a monk, things might actually balance out. She's a blond. You like blondes, Oz?"
Damon tried not to react, not look overly surprised when Oz finally straightened up and turned to face him. Full attention. "Damon." Oz let his name hang a moment, his naturally boyish face solid as a stone. "Stefan didn't wake up your monster."
Six words. And then the two unspoken ones, "You did." He might as well have recited the dictionary. Damon stared at him, dumbfounded. "What the hell does that even mean? And how exactly doesn't that relate to your preference in women?"
Oz stood up, straightening his wool collar, buttoning his coat, even though it was too mild a night to keep it on. The sides hung low past his thighs, weighed down with weaponry he hadn't bothered to use on the vampire.
Damon snatched him by one sleeve, keeping him in place. "Oz." He wasn't sure where to go from there. He swallowed down that old metal taste. "Stick around. Have a little fun." He raised one brow. "Or I will."
There was a warning in those words. They painted the walls red, prophesied a floor littered in fleshy parts. Promised a petulant child's reaction to a taken toy.
Oz pulled loose from his grip to leave a bill on the counter-top and gave the bartender a curt nod. His eyes didn't meet Damon's, but he put a hand down on the vampire's shoulder. Damon read the movement: it said, "let it rest, put it to bed, it's been long enough."
"I'll kill 'em all," Damon swore in his best sing-song voice. "Blood on your hands, my furry little stake whittler. Better stick around, keep me distracted."
But the threat had already left him, even before the other man walked past, taking his musky, dog scent with him. Damon worked his jaw, angry, with what he wasn't quite sure. He'd met the other man a few years past, killing off a few miscreants with fangs. A mostly one-sided conversation had followed, concerning species types and variations and sunlight and moonlight—and their not-so-adverse effects on the current party. The conversation had swam from deep end to shallow, in too few words. Something, a see-you-when-you're-around kinship, had formed and been lost as soon as Damon had found new interest in an old interest.
Stefan. Stefan on his radar and in their hometown. And the one who wasn't Katherine but wore her face. Might as well have been chum in the water.
Damon had almost forgotten his half-forged friendship, until tonight. And now it appeared it would always stay half-forged. All because a little doggy had caught him taking a bit more than necessary from an on-a-break waitress.
"My monster never sleeps," Damon said, knowing he'd hear. And disagree. "See you around, Oz."