Xander let out an irritable sigh. This was Angel's room, he was sure.
But his knocking had had no response. He turned, about to leave, when he
finally heard movement beyond the door. Taking a deep breath he took a
small step back for the door and looked up expectantly.
The door opened and Xander came face to face with Angel. Though his
normally spiky hair was a little flattened, to Xander, the vampire looked
almost exactly as he had nine years before, when the two had first met.
Only more naked; Angel was wearing only a pair of black trunks, and a sleepy
"Hey, Angel," Xander said, brightly.
Angel regarded him with a sombre expression. "Xander. What can I do for
"Uh, it's about my bachelor party. Can I come in?"
"Um, well, I guess..." the vampire stuttered, before Xander pushed his way
past and walked into the room. It was a typical hotel room, he thought,
decorated in hideously clashing pastels. It was furnished spartanly, with a
double bed, the sheets rumpled, occupying most of the limited space. There
was a cheap looking wardrobe in one corner and a bedside table with a faded
lamp in the other, and a door leading, presumably, to whatever en-suite
facilities there were provided.
Xander turned to face Angel, who had closed the door. "So. Bachelor
"What about it?"
"I'm inviting you. It's tonight, in the Bronze. Nothing major, just a few
of the guys and a few beers."
Angel's brows furrowed. "Xander, I know. You invited me two weeks ago."
Xander swallowed. A touch too brightly he said, "Oh, did I? I must have
forgotten. All that wedding stress, y'know, and I just wanted to make sure
you'd be there."
Angel raised an eyebrow slightly. "You came here to personally invite me?"
"Yeah, service with a smile...." Xander paused, as he summoned the courage to
say what he really wanted to. "Oh, but there was one other thing."
The eyebrow twitched again.
"I, uh, was speaking to Anya today, and, uh, she said she thought that she
saw you last night."
The vampire shrugged. "Maybe. I was about town."
"The thing is, and I'm sure she must be wrong, but she said that she saw you
with, um," Xander swallowed again, "Oz." Angel blinked, and for a moment,
he seemed uncertain. Then he regained his brooding stare.
"She would have done. I bumped into Oz, I think he's here for the wedding."
Xander stared at Angel for a second, before he took a step back and sat down
onto the bed, shocked. Angel moved towards him, looking concerned, saying
quietly, "Xander, are you OK?"
"Uh, yeah, I just...didn't expect Oz to return." He looked up, "I haven't
seen him since...since he and Willow broke up. How is he?"
"Good. Like Oz. He's stopped dying his hair though."
Mostly to himself, Xander whispered, "why's he come back? What's he here to
"Go to your wedding, probably," said Angel.
Xander shook his head. "But he might be here to speak to Willow. Tell her...
tell her..." he trailed off, looking at his feet. Angel said nothing,
glancing at the door to his en-suite shower, before returning his attention
to Xander. The younger man looked up at him again. "Hey, Deadboy. This is
where you comfort me and say he isn't going to tell Willow that he loves her
and she isn't going to jilt me."
"Is that what you're worried he'll tell her?" asked the vampire.
Xander felt his chest tighten in anxiety. With false innocence, he said,
"Why, what else would he tell her?"
Angel sighed. "Xander, he told me. I know."
"Oh, fuck." Xander buried his head in his hands. "Fuck, fuck, fuck."
"I don't think he's come to break up you and Willow, Xander."
The head snapped up, and Xander snarled, "How do you know? No-one hears
from him in six years and then just as Willow and me get married he shows
up? What am I supposed to think?"
"What, you really think Oz is that vindictive?"
"I don't know. But I do know that we didn't part on the best terms, and
that he's had six years to brood, six years to become a very bitter man."
"If he had - and he hasn't - he'd have strong justification." Angel
"That road trip of yours -- you didn't treat Oz..." Angel began, but before he
could continue he was interrupted by an angry Xander.
"Look, Angel, whatever Oz told you about that summer, it doesn't matter.
The fact is that he offered me sex, and I took it. I thought that he knew
that it was sex, and just that. I'm not to blame if he fell in love with
me, or whatever it was. If I'd realised that we were exchanging rings with
the saliva, I'd have refused. But I didn't know. And I'm not about to risk
him destroying my happiness because of a stupid fucking mistake I made six
"Angel, I hate my family because they hate me. My mom couldn't care if I
lived or died, my Dad lost interest in me when I turned out to be no good at
baseball. I've never had a normal family life. But if I marry Willow I get
a shot at that. But I'm so scared that someone is going to take that away
from me. Something always happens to snatch it from under my nose. And Oz
thinks he has the justification. I need to find him, tell him to leave me
the hell alone. So, do you know where he is?"
Angel shook his head. "I don't."
Xander took a deep breath, and he felt a little calmer. "Fair enough. If
you see him again, tell him I want to speak to him, but not what about.
I'll see you tonight, maybe." With that he got up, and left the room,
closing the door behind him. Striding along the corridor of the hotel he
tried to remember Devon's address. Perhaps Oz would be there.
Angel opened the door to the en-suite shower. "He's gone."
There was no reply, and the vampire looked into the room to see a naked Oz
curled up in one corner, a single tear trickling down one cheek.
"I feel so stupid. Why does he have this affect on me, Angel? I can't...I
don't..." he choked, and Angel moved towards him, wrapping strong arms around
the smaller man, who was shivering slightly. Effortlessly he lifted Oz up
and carried him back to the bed, making shushing noises as he went,
continuing until Oz cried himself to sleep.
When he woke, Oz knew what he should do.