A typical Friday evening. Well, as typical as it got for the members of
Dingoes Ate My Baby when they were all date-free. This particular
weekend, Oz's family had gone out of town, so the band had taken over the
living room. Notebook paper, snack wrappers, and beer bottles littered
the floor, and a well-loved bong was making frequent passes through the
The doorbell rang, announcing the arrival of food. "It's Oz's turn to get
Money was tossed at the redhead, and he slowly stood and moved to the
entryway, opening the door. "Hey." He nodded at the somewhat familiar-
looking teen at the door before turning around and wandering back through
house. The brunette followed him to the kitchen, placing the pizza bags
on the counter. "I know you. School, right?"
The larger teen nodded and held out one hand. "Xander."
Oz accepted the hand. "Oz." Bleary-eyed, he blinked at Xander removing
pizza boxes from their heat sleeves. He could hear his bandmates in the
living room, chattering away about nothing, as usual. It suddenly seemed
like a very good idea to move his hand to the back of Xander's head and
pull the larger teen's face down to his own. On one hand, he was getting
no response from the kiss -- no opening mouth, no tongue darting out to
taste his own, no subtle pelvic thrusting. On the other, he was getting
no response -- no hands pushing him away, no head pulling away, no
indignant protests about heterosexuality. Xander just stood there, mouth
lax, allowing Oz to gently push his upper lip up. Oz's tongue carefully
worked its way between Xander's lip and teeth, tasting cinnamon. Hot
Tamales. He shifted, sucking at Xander's lower lip, and added Dr Pepper
to the flavor list.
"Hey, where's the food?" Devon's voice from the living room cut through
the fog in Oz's brain, and he reluctantly pulled away from Xander.
"Hang on. Gotta pay the man." Oz pulled the cash from his pocket and
handed it over to Xander. "Um... I'm sor --"
"And thanks for choosing us to service your pizza needs." Now the
nervousness set in, and Xander seemed about as calm as a rabbit being
chased by a puppy. "Uh... I have more deliveries to make. Now. While
they're still hot." And he quickly made his way back through the living
room and out the front door, followed by amused musicians' eyes.
"Geez, Oz, what did you do, grope the poor guy?"
The redhead opened his mouth to protest Devon's words, but then he
realized that the singer was joking. He grinned. The only way to throw
off suspicion was to agree -- even if it wasn't actually a complete joke.
"Of course. Why else do you think he had to leave that quickly?" He
carefully sat back down on the floor, reaching for the bong once more. "So
what did you guys decide about that last section?"
By Monday, the kitchen incident had more or less faded from Oz's memory --
until he noticed Xander in the hall at school. The memories came
immediately flooding back. And based on Xander's more-than-slightly
panicked reaction to seeing Oz, the brunette remembered it all too well.
As soon as Xander's eyes skimmed over Oz, they widened in something very
much like horror, and Xander turned quickly away. Shit.
But just as Oz had decided to sigh and give up on that idea, a voice
behind him made him realize that maybe Xander's expression was unrelated
to the short musician. "Xander! You'd better not walk away from me this
time!" To Oz's amusement, the hostile words were coming from popularity
queen Cordelia Chase.
And even more entertaining, Xander's body slumped as he turned around to
face her. "What do you want, Cordelia?"
"Well, I..." Oz blocked out her words. Xander's panic and dismay had
nothing to do with Oz, so he could carry on with the rest of his day.
Monday night was a slow night at the Bronze, but that's when the Dingoes
played. Actually, it was because the Bronze was slow that they were
able to secure the spot. They hoped some day to prove themselves and
become a weekend attraction, but that had yet to happen.
And so Oz found himself on stage, wishing he had someone to focus on in
the audience. If he could find just one person to concentrate on, he
could bury his stagefright. It was one thing to play to a room full of
strangers. It was another to play to a single specific person. Even if
that person wasn't watching the stage, the focus required to keep his eyes
on his chosen audience allowed him to block out other distractions.
A commotion sounded at one of the tables, and Oz glanced over to see who
was involved. A mousy redhead that clearly dyed, a blonde that had to
be very well-acquainted with Miss Clairol, a tall man with dark features
like Xander, and Xander himself. The blonde frowned and followed the man
Oz didn't recognize. Then the redhead spoke to Xander for a few seconds
before tossing her hands in the air and following the blonde. Xander just
sighed and sat down at the table. Alone.
And so Oz got his person to watch while playing.
But Xander just stared at the table for several long minutes before
turning his attention to the ceiling. Finally, he got up and went to the
bar, returning to his table with some brown beverage in a clear plastic
cup. Dr Pepper, Oz thought. And grinned. But Xander just kept
alternating his sad gaze between the table and the ceiling.
Finally, the set ended, and Oz decided to seize the opportunity to speak
to the teen at the table. He placed his guitar in its stand before
hopping off the stage and moving to Xander's table. "So are we really
"Huh?" Xander slowly pulled his attention away from whatever imaginary
spot he was staring at. "Bad?" Then his eyes fell on the person speaking
to him, and he tensed. "Oh. Um, hi."
"Hi." Oz leaned closer, hoping his movement wouldn't be interpreted as
threatening. "Remember me?" Xander nodded. "Can I talk to you for a
minute?" Xander paused for a moment but finally nodded, resuming his
careful study of the table. Oz pulled up a barstool and sat down.
"About the other night." No response from Xander for several seconds.
Then he shrugged, and Oz decided to take that as assent. "I just wanted
to apologize --"
"No problem. I'm used to people doing things they --"
But Oz cut off his words, placing a surprisingly large hand over the
larger teen's mouth. "A proper host would have offered you something to
drink." He removed his hand and leaned closer. In a lower voice, he
continued. "And I really should have asked first, but you didn't seem too
offended, so I'm not about to apologize for kissing you."
"Did you like it?"
Oz blinked. "What?"
Xander nervously shifted in his seat. "I didn't do anything back."
"Oh." The redhead shrugged. "You didn't pull away or push me away.
That's a start." He traced a ring of moisture on the table. "And you're
here talking to me now. You're not freaking out and telling me to go
away." His fingers moved closer and closer to Xander's until they just
barely brushed the younger teen's pinkie finger.
To Oz's surprise, Xander's little finger reached out and captured Oz's.
"Are you sober now?"
"What?" Oz blinked. "What do you mean?"
Doubt began to cloud Xander's face. "Well, you were, um, stoned the other
night, weren't you? I mean, I could taste it." He flushed, apparently
realizing that this was admitting that he had been paying attention to the
events that evening.
But Oz just nodded. "More or less."
"Would you have done that if you hadn't been?"
Now Oz sighed. He lowered his head to the table, resting his chin on his
free hand. "I don't know. I doubt it."
Xander's hand came down to rest on the back of Oz's head, fingers slowly
working their way through hair. "Why not?"
"It's not in my nature." He sat up, and Xander's hand fell to his
shoulder. "I'm not forward. At all."
Now Xander smiled slightly. "You seem to be doing pretty well at it now."
It was Oz's turn to flush. "Well, I..." His words trailed off as Xander
pulled his hands away and sat upright.
"Hey, Oz, man, can you help? There's something funky with one of the
Oz sighed. "Yeah. Just a minute." He watched Devon wander off towards
the stage, chatting up some random girl who had decided to try her hand at
being a groupie for the evening. "So. You're Xander. I'm Oz. And do we
have something more to discuss, preferably some place quiet where we won't
The hopeful tone in the question made Xander smile. "Yeah. I'd like