Oz walked slowly around the campus, biding his time. He reached the hall doorway, usually left unlocked whenever Giles was in the library, and studied it for a second, noting the color, the texture, all the things he normally didn't notice, except for certain times of the month. Like today. He saw that it was unlocked, opened the door, and strolled in.
He made his way down to the library and opened the doors with enough noise to inform anyone that he was here. No interrupting people in passionate embraces today, if he could help it.
Luckily, only Giles was there, looking up from a small collection of books scattered across the library table. "Oz," he said amicably. He looked up at the clock, then frowned slightly. "You're here rather early."
Oz shrugged. "It's New Year's Eve. My mother's preparing for the annual party, and by the time 4:30 rolls around, my father'll be halfway through a bottle of scotch. It's easier to be here." He looked at Giles. "So why are you here?"
Giles looked down at the stacks of books around him. "Every year, the Watcher's council requires an...account of the events that have occurred over the year, extremely detailed and with possible....problems that can be remedied over the year to come." He started moving papers around. "They're sent monthly reports, plus information during cries, but the annual report is what gets placed in the archives." He looked up at Oz. "I am....a little behind on it."
Oz nodded. "Since I'm not going home anytime soon, need some help?"
Giles smiled lightly. "That would be quite kind of you." He pulled out a sheet of paper. "I need detailed information on these particular subjects. Just find the books we used and set them on the table."
"Not a problem." Oz picked up the list and started mumbling the names to himself. "Romany curses, Bezoar, Kakistos, Ovu Mobani, the Judge, Acathla, werewolves..." He paused on the last one. "You are going to mention that the information we have on werewolves is decidedly inaccurate, right?"
Giles smiled. "Of course." He paused for a second. "You are considered quite incredible in the supernatural studies circles....A werewolf keeping a normal life..."
Oz frowned as he grabbed one book. "As long as they don't decide to put me on display, I don't care what they think," he lied effortlessly, his hands tightening around the book.
Giles looked directly at him. "I have been protesting the discussion. I...I don't think it is right to publicly dissect people, despite any...differences."
Oz's hands relaxed on the book. "Thank you," he said quietly.
Giles nodded. "I was curious, though. How do you explain your nights...away?" He gestured at the paper apologetically. "This account has to be detailed..."
Oz shrugged. "My father thinks I'm out at clubs seducing men. As long as he thinks that way, my mother won't tell him otherwise."
Giles frowned. "She knows, then?"
Oz nodded. "She found out about Jordy, then asked me, in her usual roundabout way. I think she's still in denial, though." He shrugged again. "My only problem is the band....I think Devon is getting suspicious of my excuses." He looked down. "It was...a lot easier when Willow was...with me. I could say that I was out with her and that's why I kept on missing practice. But now..." he paused for a second. "I told Devon I was going to a concert in Vegas tonight. It's getting hard to come up with excuses, though."
Giles frowned, still focused on only one part of that monologue. After a minute, he spoke quietly. "I...I saw you speaking to Willow before the break..."
Oz nodded, looking down. "Yeah...she wanted to apologize..." He looked up at Giles, his face resolved. "And I wouldn't take her back."
Giles blinked a few times. "Right." He paused for a second, trying to think of what to say. He finally gave up. "Is that Blessed Raymond's Demonicon?" he asked, pointing at the book in Oz's hand.
"Oh...yeah...here." Oz handed the book to Giles. "I think the section on the Judge is a little iffy, though. I mean, Raymond said he was green, and he was obviously blue. And that whole 'no man-made weapon' isn't even mentioned."
Giles raised an eyebrow. "But it does have detailed descriptions of the dismemberment of the Judge, therefore giving us a proper tally of what to look for."
"Except now he's in even more pieces. You ought to use Lord Devane's Symposium on Demonology. It's better with the details."
Giles raised both eyebrows. "You....you've certainly spent more time reading those books than I believed."
Oz smiled lightly. "I started reading everything on werewolves and it just sort of went from there..." He looked down at the book in his hand. "I like it, finding out new and different things about all the weird shit out there. Reading about a demon who can destroy the entire world in a heartbeat sort of makes my problems rather trivial."
Giles smiled as well. "I...I've never actually seen it that way." He thought about it for a second. "But it works."
Oz nodded, then returned to the books. "If only finding excuses for missing practice were as easy..." he said resignedly.
Giles frowned for a second, then looked up, an idea forming in his head. "Oz," he said. "How would you like a job?"
Oz blinked. "What?"
Giles nodded, the idea becoming more coherent. "I could use a research assistant....someone to help me organize books and whatnot..." He paused, looking at Oz. "And it'd only be three or so nights every month."
Oz frowned for a second, then broke into a sly smile. "Giles, are you offering me an alibi?"
"I could use the assistance. It won't be easy though..." Giles paused for a second, trying to figure out how to say it politely.
Oz saved him. "Willow and Xander come in here all the time." He nodded. "Yeah, I know." He shrugged again. "It doesn't bother me as much as it used to," he said, trying to be optimistic.
Giles knew better. "I, of course, will talk to them if they seem a bit too...involved with each other," he said briskly, scribbling on his report.
Oz looked at Giles, his eyes filled with gratitude. "Thank you," he said quietly.
Giles continued to write on his report. "You're rather quite good at research, Oz. And if you need an alibi for the three nights you spend here, then I'm glad to give you one. And as for the...other situation..." He finally looked up at Oz, his gaze matching the younger man's. "I know that these next few months are going to be extremely difficult...and I will do what I can to help." He looked down at his papers and was about to say more when the library doors opened suddenly. Both men looked at the doors.
Cordelia strolled into the library, her Gucci heels clacking on the linoleum. "Oh good, you're not in the cage yet," she said to Oz.
Oz looked at her, his brow furrowed slightly. "Cordelia...what are you doing here?"
Cordelia smiled bashfully, much to the surprise of Giles and Oz, and pulled something out of her bag. "Well, instead of eating with us, Mom decided she wanted to go to the $100-a-plate dinner at the Bonaventure in Los Angeles and Dad shipped in these $40 a pound steaks for the family and you can't re-heat these because you lose the flavor and I thought that, well, everyone else was going to be out partying and whatnot and you were going to be stuck here and, really, just because you're a werewolf doesn't mean you can't enjoy life and so I brought you a steak to eat." She handed Oz a large slab of beef in a ziplock bag. "Inez wanted to cook it, but I made some excuse."
Oz looked at the meat and raised an eyebrow. "This is...steak..." He looked up at her. "Wow...Thanks..."
Giles raised both eyebrows. "Yes...rather generous of you, Cordelia..."
Cordelia looked at Giles oddly. "What are you doing here? Isn't there like a ritual that Watchers have to do for New Year's or something like that?"
"Yeah, the annual report," Oz said dryly. He turned to Cordelia. "So what are you doing?"
Cordelia shrugged. "New Year's at the Bronze. I figure I'll walk in, look stunning, and kiss the nearest guy when midnight hits....right in front of Xander of course. I'm hoping to guilt trip him into making a New Year's Resolution involving massive acts of forgiveness, preferably involving shopping and chocolate..." She smiled sharply. "Not that I'm taking him back, of course."
Oz nodded. "Of course."
Cordelia sighed. "I better get going. It'll be dark soon..." She started walking out the door, then turned back to face Oz. "You know, it's really too bad that you're stuck here tonight...I'm sure the Blue Angel really knows how to throw a New Year's Party." She left the library.
Giles looked at Oz with just a hint of panic. "She's been to the Blue Angel?"
Oz nodded. "Just once." He looked at Giles. "I didn't tell her anything."
Giles relaxed slightly, removing his glasses and rubbing the bridge of his nose. "I...Of all the people I would expect to see there...Cordelia would...definitely be a surprise..." He looked at the clock. "Right, it's almost sunset..."
Oz looked at the window and sighed. "Another night falls on Sunnydale, and I get to be locked up in the library..." He opened the cage door and shut it tightly. "At least I have dinner..." he said jokingly.
Giles opened another book. "I'll...I'll be here all night working on this report...so you needn't worry."
Oz nodded. "Hey, Giles?"
Giles looked up. "Yes?"
Oz slid off his shirt. "Happy New Year."
Giles smiled kindly. "Happy New Year to you too, Oz."