Most people can't sit still. It's an unnatural state
for any living being to be in; something is always moving.
They blink, or twitch, or take deep breaths. They sigh. The
heart beats, the blood flows, and something always moves.
Oz sat across from me and even I was fooled into
believing he didn't move. The heavy corduroy of his jacket
hid the slight movements of his chest as he breathed. He was
still, in that way that only the truly wild can be, when
not-moving is part of a game between hunter and prey. And
for a moment, staring back at Oz, I knew that when he looked
at me he didn't see me. He didn't see anything like me. All he
saw was food.
He hadn't said a word when he had come in; he didn't
need to. The story was there in the set of his mouth and in the
way he held himself. Oz was thin, harder than he had been,
and it hurt to see him like that. Hurt to see that the monsters
had gotten him. It hurt worse to know that the monster was
himself, and that he had given up the fight.
Being a werewolf is different than being a vampire.
As a rule, vampires don't have any knowledge of being
anything else. They're demons, they're evil. It's all very neat
and very simple. A demon with a soul is less clear, but still,
the line between human and demon is defined. A werewolf...there
is no line. The wolf body is pulled from the body of the human,
and the wolf's rage, the passion of it all, is pulled from the mind
and wants of the human. No line, no separation, and in Oz's
eyes, not a lot of hope.
So we sat, and we stared.
He spoke finally. Softly, a little rough, like he hadn't
said a word in a long time. "I've lost my human, and I was
kinda hoping you could help me find him."
"If I can help, you know I will."
"S'why I came."
He looked down at the table top, running his hands
across the surface like it would tell his future. "I killed a
person. A girl." He spread his hands out, and I had to fight
the urge to reach over and pat his hand or something. All of
this connecting with other people seeps in, until it's second...
third? nature to do it. "I slept with her. Fucked her, really.
It was...bad. And then I ripped her throat out."
"I'm sure you do."
That cut, and I looked at him steadily.
He looked back, lifting his eyes until he was staring
back at me from behind his lashes. If he had longer hair, he'd
have looked a little wilder. Maybe. "I won't apologize."
"That's unlike you."
"Actually, it's not. The advantage to thinking about
everything you say is that you generally mean it when it comes
out of your mouth. So, not apologizing."
"Yeah. Oh." Oz looked back down again, and I
relaxed. There was no reason to get upset at him for throwing
my turn as villain back in my face. Cordy does it all the time.
Xander did it all the time, too. But I expected better from Oz.
He's not the type to be deliberately cruel.
"So you came to see me."
"To find my human. Yeah." A tiny smile,
uncomfortable and hesitant like the voice. "Maybe to get help
beating this violence and death kick I seem to be on. Oh, and
sex. Can't forget the sex."
"You've killed others?"
"And they were?"
"One guy, he was...hurting a little boy. Cute kid.
Killed the guy and ate him. Can't really say he didn't deserve it,
but I kinda fear how easy it was." Oz picked up his mug of tea
and looked at it for a moment before setting it back down. "He
I flinched. That sounded like something I would have
said back...then. "Oh. And the second?"
"Girl. Maybe twenty, maybe a little older."
"Was she evil?"
"Sure, if you define evil as perky and stupid." Oz
shrugged. "She tasted good too."
"Do you regret it?" I asked. "Killing them?"
"Did I..." He stood up with a quick, angry motion and
glared at me. There was power in the room, hot to my cold,
startling and electric and playing along my skin. He opened his
mouth to speak, shut it, and turned toward the elevator. He was
inside it before I could move, and shutting the door by the time
I reached him.
"I'm sorry. Oz, I'm sorry."
Oz shoved me away hard, and the power flared enough
to make us both gasp. "Let me go, Angel. Please."
"No." I shook my head and advanced slowly, holding
out one hand in front of me like it would hold him back if he
wanted to attack. "You're a friend."
"I'm a killer. I killed people. I ate them."
"And that's why you came to me. Because I know
what it's like."
Oz nodded and slid down, using the back wall of the
elevator for support. "Yeah."
I touched his cheek, just for a second. He turned his
head slightly and rubbed his cheek against the palm of my hand.
I started to move away and he caught my arm, rocking forward
until he was on his knees. He brushed his mouth against my
wrist, licked the place my pulse would have been. "Oz?"
Oz looked at me silently, still holding my wrist against
his mouth, and there was nothing human, nothing of the person I
knew in that look. I pulled my hand away and he closed his eyes,
but he didn't hold on. "I'll be okay."
I had my doubts.
Oz spent a good part of the next few days lying on my
couch, curled up with one hand tucked between his knees. I
don't think he slept. We talked, mostly. Sometimes we just
sat around doing nothing. He needed that. I did too, I think.
He told me things. They weren't really comforting.
And a lot of those times, it was his wolf, his demon looking out
at me through his eyes, and I wondered how he could stand it.
Not the part about having a demon, but the part where it was so
completely and effortlessly a part of him that he didn't seem to
notice when it took over.
"I do notice," he said softly.
I blinked at him, tilting my head to one side in an
attempt to keep him talking.
"It's different. I look at things, people mostly, and I
wonder what its weakness is. I passed by an old man this
morning, and I could taste him. I knew I could run him down.
He'd be easy. I saw a girl, and all I could think was that she
wouldn't be good because she was sick. I look around at the
city and all I want to do is find somewhere with trees, and I
want to run." He paused, hugging his knees to his chest and
looking at me. His shoulders were slumped, and he looked
exhausted. "I don't think I want to be human anymore."
I remember the First Evil. I remember seeing the
ghosts of everyone I had killed. And I remember, even though
it's taken me a long time to get here, that it wasn't me that killed.
The person I think of as me wasn't in control. And still, there's
the guilt. The feeling that I should have been able to do more to
stop the killing. And if it's that bad for me, then it must have been
a hundred times worse for Oz, who didn't even have the tiny
comfort of losing his soul.
He had nightmares, and he'd wake up trying not to cry,
or scream. I stayed away; he'd made it perfectly clear that my...he
didn't want to be touched. Not by anyone. He hit me once, hard,
in the jaw. Doyle had gotten a fairly vicious kick to the stomach.
Cordelia had gotten off easy; he only spoke to her, but it was enough
to upset her for the next few days. No one can ever be crueler than
someone genuinely nice.
We'd watch, and he'd slip into the mask of his own control,
and everyone there would know it for the lie it was. We were
helpless to stop things from degenerating. He was helpless.
And God, how he hated it.
One night he woke up crying silently. I touched his hair,
stroked it back like I remember him doing to me when I had been
poisoned, and he didn't say anything. He just looked at me for a
second and closed his eyes, turning his face away and burying it
in the pillow.
He was gone the next morning.