Monosyllabic Eccentricity

Title: If only I don’t suffocate
Author: Rebecca
Rating: R
Spoilers: Wild at Heart and New Moon Rising
Summary: The Initiative haven’t forgotten Oz.
Disclaimer: Oz = not mine. Don’t sue
Author's Note: The song in this fic is ‘Bend and Break’ by British band Keane.


When you forget your name
When old faces all look the same
Meet me in the morning when you wake up
Meet me in the morning then you'll wake up
If only I don't bend and break
I'll meet you on the other side
I'll meet you in the light
If only I don't suffocate
I'll meet you in the morning when you wake.


Cages, Oz decided, were pretty much the same wherever you went. Four walls, two hinges- no escape. That’s what they were designed for. Physical cages, psychological cages. Some cages had different feelings than others- the book depositary had felt like cold tile floors, stale coffee and Giles’ warm smile early in the morning when he should have been asleep; the crypt had been orange, silent sunrises and Willow’s tears. Both had been cages of his own choosing, but in essence the same. Designed to keep others out, or him in. Either was fine for Oz.

This cage was not really that far removed from any other cage Oz had been in, other than he felt that he was going to die in this one.

It was smaller than the first cell he had been put in by the Initiative, and unlit. Oz had felt his way around on the second day, and judged it to be about ten foot square, with a bolted metal door at one end and tiled all over with the same slick ceramic that he was all-too familiar with. There was a flat pallet in one corner and a bucket in the other. He had used the bucket five times, once to puke in after he had woken up full and heavy, legs shackled and covered in blood. He hadn’t found out whom he had killed, but they left him alone for a week afterwards.

They. Them. Anonymous faces, shadowy nightmares dressed in white jackets. The Initiative, Nevada style.

They came every other day. Oz knew that because he felt the moon, even though there were no windows in his cell. He felt it rise, and set.

He felt the pull and wanted to resist it.

They usually hit him with a tranquilliser before they entered his cell, like he was a beast. They’d underestimated him the first time, and he’d managed to get a glimpse of his Outside- a long, dim row of metal doors that stretched to the end of forever, all silent- before they’d taken him down with tasers. They used an airgun or something like it- he never heard the rapport of the shot, only the sharp sting in his shoulder and the slow numbness that made the world tilt and fall away. Occasionally they lessened the dose, so they could monitor the effects of their tests immediately after administration. He didn’t stay awake long, though- the pain of the liquid silver they injected under his skin was far too much for that.



Lovesick bitter and hardened heart
Aching waiting for night waiting for life to start
Meet me in the morning when you wake up
Meet me in the morning then you'll wake up

What Oz hated most about his cell was the silence. Everywhere in his life there had been noise- laughter, speech, cars, songs, wind, sea, birds, roads and cities- enough of it so he had to make little contribution, just sit back and listen and be content. Now, there was nothing and less than nothing.

Oz amused himself in the first few weeks by pacing his cell, thinking that if he worked himself up, he could somehow form and plan and break out. He tried, failed, and gave up the fifth time he woke with a pounding headache and jagged burn marks on his torso.

Now, he sat against a wall, lay on his pallet or the floor, and hummed. He hummed Dingoes songs, he hummed Elvis and Bowie. He hummed everything he’d ever played. He hummed bars and scales and cadences. He hummed songs he’d only half-heard and tried to make up the rest. He even found himself humming to the tune of people’s voices- those he could remember. Buffy’s, Devon’s and Willow’s were his favourites, although Giles’ tended to have a good rhythm and even Spike’s drawl could keep him from screaming for hours on end.

He hummed until all he could hear was his own voice and all he could feel were the vibrations in his throat.

Oz lay naked against the tile, blind and deaf and humming himself into oblivion.

If only I don't bend and break
I'll meet you on the other side
I'll meet you in the light
If only I don't suffocate
I'll meet you in the morning when you wake


When the first full moon came, Oz stayed awake the whole night. He chanted under his breath, rubbing his hand where his Tibetan charm had lain cool against his skin. They had taken that, as well as his clothes, when they took him in. He thought it had been a routine pull-over; maybe his bumper was wonky, or he was getting a flat. Then he had seen them pulling shackles, not cuffs, from the car and he had panicked and run, but they had caught him and wrestled him down into the desert sand and he remembered nothing past that.

Except waking in his new world, and discovering he was halfway to the end of time and he hadn’t even told Willow.

He changed.

He gave in to the wolf.

Hey, what could he do, he was under a lot of pressure.

The second night of the full moon, he changed again, but this time he woke up in a white place where people in lab coats bustled around. That was the time he first heard about their experiments with the silver theory.

He tried not to let go.

And he managed not to, for a whole two months.

I'll meet you on the other side
I'll meet you in the light
If only I don't suffocate
I'll meet you in the morning when you wake


Oz’s world had become a series of awakenings and tiny deaths. He calculated it to be January, six months after he last saw daylight of any kind. He scratched the new month into the skin of his thigh with his thumbnail- the thin, raised scars were his calendar.

He had long given up the humming. He had just run out of songs, of noises. Even humming the sound of his van along the road to some girl’s house- he forgot who; something to do with a tree, perhaps. She tasted like lemons and eucalyptus- even that wasn’t enough to keep him from reality.

He sat- cold; naked; still. He wondered whether he smelt bad. It certainly seemed like he would smell bad. He didn’t wash all that much any more. He changed, sometimes. The wolf was far too willing nowadays, but even he was losing his touch.

Oz could remember more from when he changed. It was like Veruca said- little bits filtered back; pebbles down a long slope. Nothing much. Glimpses of a lighter world, where tiny shafts of grey from beneath the door penetrated the dark, like harpoons.


Occasionally shadows moved across the grey, making them ripple and shift.

Oz didn’t have a shadow in this dark cage.

He changed more often, after that.

I'll meet you in the light
If only I don't suffocate
I'll meet you in the morning when you wake