Monosyllabic Eccentricity

Title: Every Boy
Author: Vashti
Sequel to: Little Bits/The Main Bit
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: Post New Moon Rising
Summary: Buffy comes to retrieve Oz from Spike's crypt, but she might not like what she finds.
Disclaimer: I am not, and never have been, a white male making millions of dollars off people that do not exist.
Author's Note: This is the little baby sequel to "Little Bits/The Main Bits" that so many of you asked for. No there will not be yet another sequel, I am quite pleasantly done. You do not have to have read "Lil Bits..." to understand this story, but it won't hurt.


But it's calm under the waves. Fiona Apple

"Wait a minute, I saw you at a diner. You burned me," Spike accused his crypt-guest.

"Denial seems futile."

Spike tossed his cigarette butt over his shoulder then carefully stretched his legs and sat on his butt. "You going to explain those scars?" he indicated Oz's now bared forearms.

"You going to explain sudden, momentary amnesia?"

Neither man seemed willing to explain anything.

The phone rang. Spike reached behind him and picked up the salvaged rotary dial. "Electricity?" Oz asked.

"I've got a bloody telly now haven't I? Or did we not notice?" he replied caustically. "What?!" he answered the still shrilly ringing phone.

"Spike? It's Buffy. We can't find Oz. Tara wanted to invite him over for dinner and when he didn't answer the phone we went over there to see if he was all right and--"

"S'alright. I got him."

"What?"

"You heard me. I found the pup. He was dining out." Spike glared at Oz.

"What did you do to him?"

"Nothing! Not a bloody thing! And I for one am offended that you would even think that I would do something to Oz in his time of need even if I could."

That stopped Buffy for a moment. Spike could almost hear the gears turning. Then she snorted. "You would!"

"Okay, so I would. That doesn't mean I did."

"That's it, I'm coming over right now."

"Oh what, I'm not good enough to baby-sit anymore?"

"No offense Spike, but Oz is grieving--"

"And I'm not?" he growled, muscles moving under his face that real people just didn't have.

Buffy was quiet on the other line, but he could hear her breath coming out in shuddery puffs like she had just run a very long way very quickly and hadn't had time to catch her breath before making this call. Well screw it, he was hurting. Just because he didn't go about weeping like the rest of them or catatonic--

"I'm sorry, Spike. Of course you're grieving," she apologized softly. "But I'm still coming over." She hung up the phone.

Spike turned to Oz. "Company's coming."

His raised eyebrows asked who.

"Buffy. 'Spect she'll be here in about fifteen minutes or so, so I suggest--"

But Oz was beyond hearing him, caught up in the intense sense-memory evoked by Buffy's name. His brain supplied him with her unique scent, almost buried beneath a surprisingly flowery body-spray at the funeral. It then cross-referenced that perfume with something heavier, darker . . .Delicious. Joyce's. Joyce had worn Delicious and so had Buffy whenever she could snag a spray of the expensive golden perfume. It had a big cat on the frosted white top. Willow had pointed it out for him one time when they had gone malling. Buffy likes to borrow that from her mom, although not always borrow in the permission-was-given sense. She liked Chloé Narcisse. It had a flowered top. Frosted. More golden liquid. Sweet flowery scent that was Willow and just the smallest undertone of musk to give it depth.

Buffy's perfume at the funeral hadn't been Chloé Narcisse. Dawn's had. And Tara smelt all over like Willow. He hated her for it. But couldn't hold onto hating her because that took too much energy and Oz had used up all his energy being stoic, laconic, at the wake. What was left from that hadn't sustained him at the funeral. Hadn't lasted past the parking lot and it continued to crumble at odd moments for the rest of the service. Buffy had held him. The only person not Spike or Angel -- both comforting Dawn and each other -- strong enough to hold him.

The papers should have read GRIEF-MAD WEREWOLF SAVAGES FUNERAL (pg. 2-3). They didn't. Buffy had held him. She was the only one, who was not an already occupied vampire, strong enough to do so.

Odd seating arrangement that. From left to right: Buffy with an iron-hold on Oz, Cordelia-Xander-Anya (in that order), Giles with Tara on his shoulder. Spike-Dawn-Angel (also in that order) and Wesley hadn't made it onto the front row. Not that they hadn't tried. And he had scented Faith somewhere in the back.

"Hey, have you heard a thing I've said?"

Oz looked at him. Wolf eyes. That share nothing because everything they see is inside. Watching the world disconnect.

"Guess that's a no."

Disconnect.

"He-llo. Are we alive and kicking, mate?"

Snap. Grab. "I'm not comatose, Spike."

The vampire snorted. "You sure about that?"

"It's grief," Oz replied softly, as if unsure of himself. Trying to convince himself.

"Ahem. Am I interrupting?" Buffy called. The boys were staring at each other, nose to nose. They were either about to kill each other -- or kiss. Buffy was sure that whichever it was she had come right on time.

Oz released Spike. Who made a great show of dusting himself off, before kneeling up off the ground. "Go get your dog, Slutty."

"Nice to see you too, Spike," she drawled. Buffy crossed the threshold into the crypt proper. "Oz, where have you been? We were all so wor--" She stopped suddenly as Oz stood up, bringing himself into the lighting. "Oz . . .what happened to your face?" Slowly, she brought her hands up and gently touched his bruised cheeks.

Oz winced. Which hurt more.

"I thought you said you didn't touch him, Spike!" she yelled, whirling on the vampire.

"I said I didn't do anything to him."

"Do you really expect me to believe Oz did this to himself?!" she said, advancing on Spike.

Oz caught her upraised arm. The one with the stake in her fist. "He's right," Oz said. Talking hurt. Everything hurt.

Buffy turned back to him. "I don't know why you're protecting that walking bag of dust, but, but . . ." She sighed. "But the most important thing right now is getting you home. C'mon. I'll clean you up at the house."

"I'm not. I can't."

"What? Why not?"

Oz's mouth worked for a moment before Spike breathed the answer for him. "Tara."

"No one's talking to you, Neutered Wonder."

"He's right, Buffy," Oz murmured. "I can't be around her yet. Ever."

"But she's hurting too, Oz. Maybe together you can figure this out."

"No! No." He stepped past her and walked to the door. "Tell everyone I'm sorry. Spike."

"Oz."

He was almost out the cemetery before Buffy caught up with him. "Oz, wait! We can figure this out. You can't just . . .leave! You can't just leave like this. Not again. You know, Willow wasn't the only who was hurt when you left, Oz. It's not fair."

"Neither is this!" he roared.

He pulled Buffy flush to him, gripping her sweater in his slim fingers, his nose buried in her neck. But it was like being held by a robot. Oz had exploded only to collapse back in on himself. A sun gone nova. Buffy held herself carefully, unsure of what to do with an Oz that ran hot and cold, wishing Willow were here to guide her.

"You still smell like her," he murmured into her skin. "You wore this when you cleaned up the blood."

"Oz," she breathed. She pleaded.

"Wash it again." He let her go. Turned. Walked away.