Monosyllabic Eccentricity

Title: Animal Instincts
Author: Monkey
Rating: PG
Spoilers: Post Wild at Heart
Summary: Oz comes back to Sunnydale, but why?
Disclaimer: Willow, Oz, and the rest of the Scooby Gang is owned by Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy Productions, and Sandollar Productions. I, most unfortunately, have nothing to do with Buffy except having a complete love for the show. The plot of this story, however, does belong to me.
Website: Monkey Perch Studios


While looking up at the beautiful almost-full moon, Willow's overused mind started to wander and it was no surprise where to; Oz. "Where have you locked yourself up tonight?" she thought to herself. "If only I could be there when you woke tomorrow, maybe, just maybe you'd come back to me."

*****

Meanwhile, on the other side of the campus Buffy was, as usual, fighting a vampire. "You guys just don't get it," she said between kicks. "This is my college, if you come here you'll just get staked." As she said this, Buffy plunged a stake into his heart and a second later, poof, he was gone.

"You know really I think our method is better," Riley said pulling himself out of the bush he had watched half the fight from. "We don't actually kill them."

"What you're forgetting that they are already dead. You think it's safer having un-dead guinea pigs than totally dead vampires?"

"No, but at least we can find better ways to stop them killing or maybe even a cure."

"You can't cure being dead." Recently Buffy and Riley had been fighting a lot about how they should handle vampires. "For thousands of years they have been killed like I kill them," Buffy exclaimed. "God, you've got me sounding like Giles!"

"Maybe we should call it a night?" suggested Riley.

"For patrolling or fighting?"

"Both." With that, the two turned towards the dorms, holding each other's hand.

Just then there was some rustling in the bushes and Buffy turned around. "What is it?" asked Riley, but Buffy just held a finger to his lips.

All of a sudden an animal jumped on Buffy. Riley quickly got out a knife to stab it when Buffy shouted, "No!" With that she pushed the beast off her and it ran away.

"We should kill it," Riley said with a movement towards the direction it ran.

"No, we need a tranquilliser gun," Buffy said starting to jog in the other direction.

"But why? I thought you said it would be safer if it was dead."

"I know, but that's Oz!" she called as she accelerated to full speed towards Giles' house.

*****

"Are you sure it was Oz?" enquired the puzzled ex-watcher.

"Yes. I've seen him enough times in wolf form to know when it's him. Anyway we'd have to get the wolf, whoever he is."

"This may be just me, but I thought Oz was human. It's been a while but he didn't have that much hair." Riley tried to joke his way out of the serious atmosphere in the room.

"Oz is a werewolf. Please tell me you've heard of one. I mean you hadn't heard of me, but there's been two here. They once tried to attack Professor Walsh." Buffy finished.

"I've heard of them, but only in myths. But then you were a myth and you came true. If he is then can't we wait 'til morning and find him in human form?"

"And just hope he doesn't kill anybody? No, I have to go now! Giles, the gun?"

"Over in the trunk," Giles said pointing to the weapons trunk in the corner of the room. "What about Willow?"

"We better not say anything until we are sure. Riley, go with Giles and set up a cage. It's early and I don't know how long these things last, and besides, we'll need it for tomorrow anyway," instructed Buffy as she walked towards the door.

"Tomorrow? But isn't tonight the full moon? Wait no, that's tomorrow. Huh?"

"Explain to him, Giles." And they left.

*****

In town Xander was sitting in his car. "Why couldn't he have walked? Lazy vampire. Ooh, I'm Spike, I need blood now, drive me. God, why didn't we let him stake himself?"

"Xander, why have you locked the car?" asked Anya through the open passenger window.

"Hoping Spike can't get back in."

"Well open it, I need to get in. This stuff's melting, you know."

"Just like you to find the only 24-hour ice cream parlour in town. Wait a minute - it's stuck. Lousy car." Xander pulled off the inside cover, which came off with surprising ease, to look at the lock. There seemed to be a sort of cheese wedged into the lock.

"Er, Xander? There seems to be some kind of wild animal out here. Could you let me in now?"

"Tell Spike to walk home, he's wedged a piece of cheese in my lock."

"It's not Spike. Come look." Anya was starting to sound worried.

"If it's a bunny I'm not . . . It's a werewolf. Get in my side. Don't show fear, it can smell fear."

"I think it might've already smelt yours," Anya commented, clambering over Xander into the passenger seat. She rolled up the window just as the beast pounced on the car. Xander quickly turned on the engine and drove away.

"What about Spike?"

"Forget him; he can walk."

"Isn't your friend a werewolf?" Xander quickly spun the car towards Giles' house.

*****

Spike, loaded down with blood and sucking one of the bags as he goes, ambled to where the car was parked. "Bloody hell, he left me. Probably thought it was a great time to go shag Anya. I'll just have to pay a visit to Giles." As Spike turned, the werewolf jumped on him, spilling some blood. "You spilt my blood! You'll bloody pay for that." Spike turned his face vampish and they got into a brawl on the floor. Buffy ran in holding the gun and aims for Oz. As she shot, the fighting pair turned, causing Spike to get the dart right in his arse. He barely had time to mutter, "Bloody hell!" before totally passing out. Buffy quickly reloaded the gun and shot the wolf.

*****

In the cemetery Giles had found the cage Oz used to lock himself up and tried his hardest to explain to Riley. "So, Oz is a werewolf three nights in a month; the full moon and the two surrounding?" asked Riley.

"Yes. You've got it. Now can you help me fix this door back on? They'll be here soon, hopefully," Giles said, lifting the heavy door, which was half-hanging on its hinges.

"Hey, could somebody give me a hand up here?" shouted Buffy down the corridor. Then, "Don't bother," as she threw Spike into the room. "I can handle it." She thumped down the stairs with Oz slung over her back.

"You got Spike? I can't blame you, but tranquilliser darts are not cheap," joked Giles, but it was wasted on Buffy.

"They were fighting, and I missed first time," Buffy explained seriously.

"Are you sure those darts are safe on humans?" inquired Riley.

"Oz is very strong in wolf form," Buffy stated.

"I meant Spike."

"Spike!?" Buffy then realised that Riley didn't know Spike was a vampire. "Nothing could kill Spike, he's very strong." Buffy placed the wolf carefully into the cage. "He's gonna need some clothes. Riley?"

"I was gonna fix this door."

"I think I can handle it," Buffy replied sarcastically.

"I'll be back soon." He left.

*****

Riley went to his room, picked up some smallish clothes that he guessed would fit the smaller man, and was making his way back out of the campus. Willow, however, was on the same path walking in the opposite direction. They soon met. "Willow, what are you doing up? It's like one o'clock in the morning," asked Riley.

"What does it really matter?" Willow mumbled, half to herself.

"Are you okay?" asked a worried Riley.

"I'm sorry, I'm fine. It's just...it's just, er, the full moon." Willow tried not to link it to anything supernatural.

"Oz, huh?" Riley said without thinking.

"Oz? Did Buffy tell you anything about Oz and the full moon?"

"No, why should she? It's your business."

"Then how did you make the link?"

"What link?"

"Exactly, there is no link."

"Ok, then." They both tried desperately to keep secrets from each other.

"So, what's with the clothes?" asked Willow.

"They're for a friend."

"Who'd need clothes in the middle of the night?"

"Nobody."

"Then who are they for?"

"They are for the morning."

"For who?"

"Somebody who needs clothes."

"Riley what do you know about me?"

"You are Buffy's best friend?"

"No, about me?"

"You are really intelligent?" Willow's facial expression told Riley that she knew exactly what he wasn't telling her. "You'd better come with me," he sighed, and they continued walking together.

*****

Back at the cage, Giles and Buffy had securely locked Oz up, as he was beginning to stir. Spike, however, was still completely out cold, lying exactly where Buffy had dropped him.

Riley and Willow walked in. Willow headed straight to the cage and sat on the floor. Buffy threw Riley a glare and the only response he could give in his defence was, "You know I'm useless at telling lies around you guys!"

"You weren't going to tell me," stated Willow. When she looked up, Buffy could see the tears forming in her friend's eyes.

"I wanted to be sure it was him. And then it was really his choice. There was no point getting your hopes up so he could break your heart again." Willow just turned back to Oz.

"I think we should leave them," suggested Giles. "And besides, you should get some sleep." Giles, Buffy and Riley left. A few moments of silence passed, then Riley came back in.  Swinging Spike onto his back, Riley left Oz and Willow alone.

*****

They arrived back at Giles' to find Xander and Anya outside. "It's about time!" complained Xander. "I really think that if you are going to lock your house when you go out you should really give me a key."

"However hard it is to resist that temptation, I will endeavour to do so and not give you a key to a place you already spend too much time."

"Is that a no? What did you do to Spike?" Xander asked excitedly. "Is he dead?" Realising then that Spike was not a pile of dust, he hastened to add, "It's probably best you forget I said that."

"What are you doing here?" Giles asked impatiently as he let everyone in.

"We were attacked!" Anya said, a little too gleefully.

"Werewolf?" asked Buffy seriously. Anya nodded. "Oz," Buffy stated.

*****

Sunrise was beautiful that morning. Willow had decided to watch it to respect Oz's privacy. A few moments passed and she went back down. Oz was climbing into the rather clown-like clothes, but stopped still when he saw Willow. "Big," he said in his non-committal way.

"Yeah, they're Riley's. He's rather a lot taller than you," Willow replied with almost as little emotion as Oz. He continued dressing and let himself out of the cage. "You remembered the code?" Willow asked referring to the lock.

"Your birthday," he said without looking up. Willow followed his gaze to the object on the floor. It was a tranquilliser dart. "Buffy?" he asked.

"Yeah, you attacked her."

"Oh," he replied with no emotion.

"What are you doing here?" She tried to make the question sound innnocent but it came out aggressive.

"Don't know," Oz seemed to show no reaction to her abruptness.

"What do you mean you don't know?! Why did you come back?" Willow was now almost in tears; she needed a reaction, or at least an explanation.

"I wasn't here last night. I must have come wolfed out." Oz was very confused but Willow didn't notice. She wanted him to say he had come back to her, but he didn't. She broke into tears. Oz instinctively went to hold her but she pushed away.

"You haven't come here for me!" Willow cried as she ran out. Oz was left standing alone. He felt no use in chasing her.

*****

Willow practically ran all the way back to her dorm, and when she got there all she could do was sit on the bed and cry. She wanted more than ever to be alone, but there was an urge to tell Buffy everything and cry into her shoulder. But it was her first wish that was granted; Buffy was with Riley in his dorm. Willow was alone. She had been alone too long; she needed her Oz, but not because he just happened to be there.

*****

Oz walked to UC Sunnydale. He was not going to Willow's though - it was too soon and he was confused. He was going to Devon's to get some smaller clothes. He had already almost tripped over his trousers five times. But when he got there no one was in. "They're out on a gig," said a passing stranger. "Ain't you Oz? Used to be lead guitar?" Oz nodded. "You need to get back, their temp guy sucks." Oz was too distracted to notice what the man had said, and decided to go to Giles'.

*****

"What happened to your own place?" Giles asked Spike.

"No electricity," Spike said without gazing away from the television.

"Of course, how silly of me. You can't live without televisions and refrigerators, but weren't you actually alive before their invention?" Giles replied sarcastically.

"What's your point?" Before Giles could answer there was a knock at the door. He answered it.

"Come in Oz." Oz did, and looked at Spike.

"You do realise Spike's watching your TV?"

"Yes," Giles replied grudgingly.

"Ok," Oz said without another thought.

>"How can I help?" Giles asked.

"Can I hang until the moon's up?"

"Why here?"

"Where else?"

"Willow's?"

"No."

"Why?"

"She needs time." As he spoke, Buffy and Riley come in.

"Oz," Buffy said in a greeting.

"Buffy," he replied.

"Where's Willow?"

"Dunno. Go to her, she needs you." Buffy glanced at Riley and left.

After an awkward pause, Riley remarked, "Those clothes really are big on you." Silence filled the room.

*****

"Willow, are you okay?" asked Buffy as she burst into their dorm room.

"He didn't come back for me. He doesn't even know why he's back," Willow managed to choke out through her sobs.

"I'm sure there's a reason," Buffy said hugging Willow.

"But not the right one!" cried Willow as she broke down to tears again.

*****

"So you're not good, you just can't be bad?" Oz said to Spike, getting his head 'round the situation.

"Right," he replied.

"Oz, time," Giles called from the kitchen.

"Thanks." With a parting nod, Oz left for his cage.

*****

The full moon rose high in the sky and Oz was restless. He banged against his cage door so hard that it flew open. He sped right out of the cemetery and stopped. He seemed to sniff the air. He turned and ran towards UC Sunnydale.

*****

Oz came crashing through the doors of Stevenson but then quieted, as though stalking prey. He slowly made his way up the stairs and along the corridor until he got to room 214. He nudged the door a few times before the latch clicked. He was in Willow and Buffy's room.

*****

When Willow rose that morning, eyes tired from a night of crying, she got up to go to the bathroom. Half way across the room she stopped. Turning to Buffy, she woke her gently. "Look," she said pointing to the foot of her bed. Buffy rubbed her eyes and focussed on a very naked Oz who seemed to have guarded Willow in her sleep. Willow went and placed a blanket over him. As she did this he woke. "What are you doing here?" Willow asked. The only answer he could give was,

"Animal instincts."