Like a voice in the wind blow little crystals down...Like brittle things will break before they turn...Like lipstick on my cigarette...And the ice gets harder overhead....Like think it twice but never never learn...
--Sisters of Mercy
Oz busily rummaged through his dresser drawer, pulling out random objects every few minutes. "Eyeliner....foundation...nail polish...lipstick..." He looked at Cordelia for a second. "Yeah, the Vamp knockoff, not the black..." He continued to pull things out, including several toys/knickknacks that defied explanation and an incredible amount of makeup for an eighteen-year-old male.
Cordelia sat on the bed, gently stroking the black velvet. She looked up at the mention of lipstick. "Vamp is so over," she said.
Oz looked up and smirked. "Not here," he said. "It's quite amazing the number of people who still wear it." He reached for something. "Here, put this on." He tossed her a bottle of nail polish.
Cordelia looked at the bottle, frowning. "17? What company is this?"
Oz moved from the dresser to his closet, pulling out clothing right and left. "English. A friend of mine got it for me. Two layers are only needed for perfect black nails. And it dries fast." He looked back at Cordelia, frowning. "You don't actually own any black, do you?"
Cordelia frowned, looking down at the very tasteful black mini-skirt and gray blouse ensemble she had carefully coordinated. "This is black!"
Oz tossed her a long black velvet shirt. "Try that. It'll work better." He resumed his search in the closet, looking away from her. "I had to guess on your shoe size, but Alexa let me borrow a pair of hers, I think they'll fit."
Cordelia looked at the back of his head, frowned for a second, then shrugged and started unbuttoning her blouse. It's not like he'd look, and if he did, what did she care? Within a minute she had pulled on the velvet shirt, and looked back at the closet. "Who's Alexa?"
"My one Goth friend," he said. "She goes to St. Ignatius's. She supplies me with stuff. She's good." He moved out of the closet with a pair of large thick boots in his hands. He looked at her, his eyebrows raising slightly. "That looks good on you," he said quietly.
Cordelia caught herself blushing for the first time in several years. "Thank you," she said, just as quiet. "Are those for me?" she asked, looking at the boots. Her eyes narrowed slightly at the sight of them. Thick, black, clunky boots, covered in white-out words and sentences. "Oh god..." she said. "You want me to wear those?"
"With the fishnets. It'll look good."
Cordelia looked at them skeptically, then kicked off her Manolo Blahniks. "They better be free of anything disgusting," she said. "If I catch some sort of fungus or something I'm gonna kick your ass."
"All talk and no ass-kicking," he said, tossing her the fishnets. "Want me to do your hair?"
"I'll do it...up or down?"
Oz frowned for a second. "Up. But makeup first." He grabbed the makeup off the dresser and tossed it on the bed. "I suppose I don't need to tell you to hold still."
Cordelia chuckled. "I've had makeovers since I was five, Oz. Just get it over with." She sat there in silence for a few minutes as Oz applied foundation and then eyeliner. Once he finished with her eyes, she spoke. "Oz?"
"I've missed this."
"Missed me doing your makeup? Hard to do, since I've never done it before."
She smiled. "No, I mean, doing makeup, getting dressed, talking about boring things like hair and makeup and clothes. I lost all my friends when I decided to date..." She paused for a second. "Him. And it's not like I could talk to Buffy and Giles about what type of shoes would go well with this outfit." She looked up at him. "Thanks."
Oz shrugged. "Hold still, I have to do your lipstick." He carefully applied it over her lips, then stepped back. "There." He capped the lipstick. "Go look in the mirror and put your hair up while I get dressed."
Cordelia went to look in the mirror and stood there in amazement. The girl in front of her wasn't her usual bronzed beauty, but was, instead, a pale version of herself, her black-rimmed eyes wide and her dark red mouth glistening with just a hint of lip gloss. She put her hair up in a sloppy bun, tendrils of hair dangling around her ears and the nape of her neck, two chopsticks she took from Oz's table holding the bun in place. She stepped back and looked at herself in amazement. Her makeup was cool, harsh, demanding, a pale bitch-goddess, while her clothing was rumpled, playful, almost innocent in its black velvet turtleneck and flared miniskirt. "Wow..." she breathed to herself.
"You look good," Oz said from behind her. She turned around and gasped. Oz stood in front of her, his pose his usual nonchalant pose, but Oz had never worn black leather pants and a long black silk shirt in front of her. He moved over to the mirror, opening a small jar. He combed blue pomade into his hair, setting it firmly, then applied thick eyeliner and heavy black lipstick.
Cordelia stared at him the entire time. "You look....you look like one of those kids who kill their parents and then go on primetime TV...but better."
Oz smirked, the left side of his mouth curling upward, harshly outlined in black. "Thanks." He turned towards her. "Cordelia, before we go...are you going to drink tonight? I'm asking because I'm going to and I thought we'd walk there."
Cordelia frowned. "Drink? We can drink there?" She frowned even deeper. "What kind of a club is this?"
"The kind that no one knows about. Also...it's not just a Goth club."
Cordelia folded her arms across her breasts. "What is it then? A Satanic cult where they'll sacrifice me?"
Oz smirked again. "Not quite. The owners have a thriving business in....a certain type of objects and they often like to show their wares....in demonstrations..."
Cordelia frowned. "What?"
"They have S & M shows, Cordelia."
"Oh." She paused for a second. "So there'll be like spankings and whippings and people tied up and things like that?" She thought about it, then straightened slightly in panic. "They don't make you join in, do they?" At Oz's shaking of his head, she relaxed. "All right then. Shall we go?"
They walked out of his bedroom together. Oz shut his door behind him, turned, and was immediately confronted by his father.
"What's that shit on your face, boy?" his father said, his voice rough with disgust. "And don't try and convince me you're actually going out with a girl, because it is not working, son."
Cordelia glared at the man in front of her. "If you would excuse us, we do have somewhere to go. Together." She wrapped her arm around Oz's waist and pulled him towards the front door.
Once outside, she turned to him. "Why don't you stand up to him?" she asked sharply.
"Why don't you stand up to your parents?" Oz spat back. He looked down at the ground, trying to get a rein on his anger. "God damn it...."
Cordelia stepped back in surprise. "Oz...are you okay?"
He sighed and looked up at the sky. "PWS."
"Pre-Werewolf Syndrome. Every night before my three nights, I get a little....edgy."
Cordelia frowned and started walking down the sidewalk. "Just don't take it out on me," she said quietly. She stopped in front of his house. "Where is this place anyway?"
Oz smirked and walked up to her. "This way," he said, directing her.
Oz walked up to the door in the alleyway and rang the doorbell. The door slowly opened, a woman who was about Cordelia's height standing there. She raised a golden glittered eyebrow when she saw Cordelia standing there, but her deep blue lipsticked lips spread into a grin when she looked down at Oz. "Oz!" she said happily. "How're you doing, sweetie?"
Oz shrugged. "I'm here, aren't I?"
The woman opened the door and started down the narrow hallway. "Come on....It'll be five bucks tonight, so get your money out and you better not need change..." Her long dyed-black hair was intertwined with gold and silver thread and in a thick braid that trailed down her back. Cordelia watched the braid as it swayed almost hypnotically, then suddenly looked up, startled, when the woman turned around. "You're Cordelia, then, right? You're wearing my boots."
"Oh...right...Cordelia, this is Alexa. Alexa, this is Cordelia."
"Ah...thanks for the shoes. They're really....big."
Alexa smirked and looked at Oz. "She's never been to a Goth club, has she?"
Cordelia frowned. "No....and I'm right here and I don't like being talked about in the third person..." She looked at Oz critically. "I'm getting a drink. Coming?"
"No, you go on ahead....I'll meet you at the bar."
Cordelia frowned at him, then put on a brave face as she made her way through the club. People stared at her, but soon returned to their normal conversations. She straightened haughtily. Come on, Cordy...you've always been the bitch queen of Sunnydale High. You can be one here... She went right up to the bar and sat down.
The bartender, a short round woman stuffed into a corset, looked at her. "Can I get you anything?"
"Screwdriver." After a minute, Cordelia had the drink in her hand. She sipped it slowly, looking around her, noticing that, despite the fact that she looked at least 20 in this makeup, she was still the youngest person in the room. She thought about it for a second, and shrugged. What the hell, she said, tipping the drink back.
Oz wove his way through the crowd, standing next to Cordelia. "Hey Rosie," he said to the bartender. "Still have the chartreuse?"
Rosie nodded and, after a minute, handed him a small glass of a odd green liquid. He sipped at it slowly, feeling the vicious pepper burn slide down his throat. He saw Cordelia looking at him oddly and smirked. "It's chartreuse. It's...." He paused for a second and then handed her the glass. "Here, have a sip."
Cordelia sipped at the weird green liquid and instantly made a face. "Jesus Christ!" she exclaimed. "It's rubbing alcohol with pepper in it!" She grimaced slightly, then turned to him. "Can I have some more?"
Oz smirked and nodded. Cordelia had another sip, made another grimace, and then handed him his glass. He grinned as he took another sip. "So what do you think?" he asked her, his voice low.
"Everyone's older than us," she said, her voice just as low.
"How on earth did you manage to get in? You're hardly what I would call a regular Goth..."
He smiled lightly. "I met Alexa at a gig. She got me in." He looked around the small bar area. "Want to see the rest of the club?" He held out his arm.
Cordelia took him arm. Together, they walked from the small bar to the other small rooms in the club. Cordelia's eyes grew wide as she walked through each room, decorated in a variety of objects and people. She was especially amazed at the room with the young man hanging from the ceiling. But she was even more amazed at Oz's droll commentary.
"This is where they do the 'doctor-patient' scenarios....this is the slave trading room, see how it's set up like a harem? This is where most of the pure bondage is done...this is where most of the spankings and whippings are done...this is the latex room...this is where you can get pierced...or tattooed even, sometimes they have that..." He stopped in front of a locked door. "And I have no clue what's behind that."
"It's where Kristof and Elena keep their private toys," a voice behind them said. Oz and Cordelia turned around to see Alexa standing behind them. "Dildos, ball gags, specially designed harnesses and whips, all that fun stuff." She smiled coolly and turned to Oz. "It's time, sweetie."
Oz nodded. "Oh, yeah, right." He turned to Cordelia. "There's something I have to take care of....I'll be back in a while...you can...I'm sure you'll find something..." He walked off with Alexa.
Cordelia stood there in surprise. "Fine, okay, leave me here in this den of iniquity while you go off and take care of 'things'. And I suppose you won't even care if I get sold to a big hairy guy who goes by the name of Diego..." She continued to grouch for a bit longer, strolling through the rooms. She suddenly came across one that, for no explainable reason, had an old silent movie projected against a wall, which also had a single person hanging from it. The person did not move, and therefore the movie was quite watchable. Cordelia found a comfortable chair and watched the movie, wondering where she had seen this movie before. The black haired woman had amazing hair though.
She was entranced by the movie for at least an hour, and, when the video ran out and the wall was lit with the bright blue of a VCR screen, she wondered where Oz was. She started walking through the various rooms, not seeing the boy in the blue pomade and leather pants. After looking through almost every room, she looked in the last. She dropped her drink in surprise. "Oh my god..."
Oz's shirt was off, revealing his pale skin to the club. He was tied to a pillory, and his back was covered with red stripes. Alexa raised the whip again and hit him, causing him to cry out, not in protest, but to beg for more.
Cordelia stood there in shock, unable to speak, or move, or do anything but stare at the boy tied in the middle of the room, the welts on his back visible to everyone in the room. His back arched away from the sting of the whip and towards the soft caresses Alexa gave him between the whippings. Cordelia wanted to look away, to not see this moment of intimacy, of pain, of Oz naked, raw, and exposed before her, but she couldn't. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't.
And suddenly, without any forewarning or resolution, it was over. Alexa was putting the whip away and untying Oz. Cordelia snapped back to reality and narrowed her eyes. She strode over to him, growing angrier with every step. He looked up at her as she approached. "Um....hi Cordelia..." he said.
"Don't you dare just 'hi' me," she said, her voice rough with anger. "What the hell was that, huh?"
Oz looked down and reached for his shirt, seemingly calm. "It's none of your business, Cordelia."
"Like hell it isn't! You bring me here and then you go off and get your back whipped raw by some dominatrix!" She stared at him in shock. "What the hell is going on, Oz?"
He looked up at her, his eyes narrowed in anger. "It's none of your damn business, Cordelia Chase." He pulled his shirt on, wincing slightly as it rubbed against his back. "You wanted to know what it was like, well, now you do."
Cordelia stood there, her anger fading to be replaced with fear. "Jesus Christ," she said quietly. "She really fucked you up, didn't she?"
Oz looked up at Cordelia. Her eyes were wide and frightened, not for her own life, but for his. He looked away. "Yes," he finally said, his voice calm. "She hurt me and I can't feel it. I can't feel anything but sick. I don't hurt, I'm not angry, I'm not sad...I'm just sick." He looked back up at Cordelia, his eyes glittering slightly. "And the only thing I can feel is the crack of that fucking whip on my back." He turned away from her and started walking out of the room.
Cordelia followed him, her stride frantic. "Oz....damnit!" She finally got a hold of his arm, pulling him towards her. She grabbed his shoulders and made him look directly at her. "Don't you fucking do this to me. Don't you fall apart on me. We're going to get through this." She looked into his eyes, her desperation matching his. "We have to."
Oz finally broke, his eyes filling with tears. "God damn it..." he said softly. "Why'd she have to do it?"
Cordelia pulled him close, wrapping her arms around him. "I don't know..." she whispered. "I don't know..." She stroked the back of his neck as he sobbed onto her shirt, tears running down her own face, the eyeliner making twin tracks down her cheeks. They stood there for a few minutes, then slowly pulled away.
Oz smiled weakly as he saw Cordelia's face. "Never cry while wearing eyeliner," he said dryly.
Cordelia touched her cheeks, then looked at him. "I could say the same to you," she said, reaching into her bag for tissues. She wiped his cheeks clean of the eyeliner.
Oz 's smile grew a bit more firm. "Just like my mom," he said. He took the tissues from her, stretching slightly to reach her cheeks, wiping the eyeliner from her cheeks gently. "I..." He paused, trying to find the words. "Thank you."
Cordelia closed her eyes for a second. "Don't mention it..." She straightened. "Really. Can you imagine how bad it would look if someone found out that I went to a Goth club with a guy who had to repeat his senior year?" Her eyes twinkled.
Oz managed to look hurt slightly. "What about my reputation? I've lost any and all 'outcast' status if I'm seen with the school popularity queen..."
Cordelia smiled. "So we don't tell anyone and therefore save our reputations?"
Oz nodded. "Sounds about right."
Cordelia nodded as well. "Great." She looked around. "I don't know about you...but I need a drink."
"Why the hell not?" The duo walked towards the bar.