Giles thinks that he and Oz have worn out language. It's a rag, a scrap, with too few threads to cover them.
He might salvage some old words, some cast-off silks. To couch, Shakespearean and precise, a verb where a verb is needed. A verb to capture the bed's give, the warm slip of Oz's skin against his, the act of sex and the act of sleep.
He might make new ones, spin and stitch them. Nothing ready-made--stained with law, outlandish with age--will fit them, fit this. Man and boy, Giles and Oz, the unweaving of all definitions.
(For glossing, inspired by a dictionary website's word of the day, "to couch.")
Oz grinds cloves and cardamom, grates nutmegs, and the whole apartment smells like Christmas. Like a real Christmas, that is--Christmas out of a storybook, out of Dickens. There'll be plum pudding and fruitcake and gingerbread--English things. Nothing California, no avocado salad or buñuelos.
Giles, chopping walnuts, says, "It's like childhood again." For him, it's memory; for Oz, invention.
But really they're both inventing, both making. Making Christmas, making a home, cooking up a new life from scratch.
They could probably buy a better fruitcake, but Oz loves the warm oven and the feel of flour on his hands.
(For eccentrici, from the prompt "holiday baking.")
Until now, Oz never knew that you could almost love somebody. He likes Quillen, likes Quillen's stories (mosaic-ed in Mapuche, Spanish, ten words of English, told and retold until Oz understands). Likes his slow laugh, his strong back, his bittersweet skin.
Liking and loving are twin stones in a wall, so close not a drop of water can squeeze between. But they're not the same stone, and no mortar will ever mend that gap.
Quillen's body at night is only the shape of Giles' absence. And when Quillen goes to Buenos Aires for work, Oz hardly misses him at all.
(For julia_here, who asked for Jazzverse Oz, set between Oz leaving after "New Moon Rising" and his reunion with Giles. glossing sent Oz to Patagonia and created Quillen and his relationship with Oz--I'm just riffing.)
Wesley remembers everything now. Remembers the baby's weight in his arms, the blood-slippery flaps of his cut throat between his clutching fingers, the burnt-bleach stink of the hospital pillowcase--an awful smell for a last breath. Remembers being Judas and scapegoat and exile.
So it shouldn't matter, this other thing he remembers. Jasmine's days, honey-thick with joy. With love.
He loved everyone, but Gunn more than all. Never apart, day or night, eating and working and bedding together. The world finally right.
Nothing in his wounded memory feels real but that.
He'll remember 'til he dies.
Let it be soon.
(For glimmergirl, who asked for Wesley in AtS S5. Um, with that request I'm assuming gloomy was okay. *smiles weakly*)
"Does anybody ever eat candy canes?" Oz asks, hanging one on a neglected, tinsel-less branch.
"I ate seven this one time when I was a kid," Xander answers from behind the tangle of Christmas lights he's unwinding. "You would not believe the throwing up."
"So that's a no."
"Mmm-hmm." Damn these wires. Maybe they should go for a low-tech tree. "Too bad, because if I remember--from before the throwing up--they're pretty tasty."
Oz unwraps one, gives it a slow lick, slides it into his mouth. "Minty."
"Good for kissing."
"C'mere and we'll find out."
(For dolores, who asked for Oz/Xander and candy canes.)
Travel Broadens the Mind
Oz knows the word for "werewolf" in eleven different languages (twelve if you count Mandarin and Cantonese separately). He knows that one hundred paise make one rupee and that in Eastern Europe, black market exchange rates are always better.
He knows that you can't eat olives or bananas straight from the tree, no matter how good they look. He knows he's small and skinny enough that strangers will buy him food, sometimes. And that sometimes they want sex afterwards.
He still doesn't know how to stop being a werewolf. And he doesn't know if he'll ever get to go home.
(For no_absolutes, who asked for Oz and the word "olives.")
Sirius has been caressing the motorbike, obsessive as a new lover, since Hagrid turned up on it an hour ago. Stammered thanks, tears in his eyes, and a smile, a smile like . . . like Sirius smiling. A smile that wasn't, after all, forgotten in Azkaban and never found again.
"Let's take a spin, Moony," Sirius says, and Remus is so smile-dizzied, so rapt and lost, kidnapped as always by Sirius's delight, that he can't say a word about lying low.
And pressed to Sirius' back, watching the world recede, Remus can imagine time's wounds healing, all losses restored.
(For pinkdormouse, who asked for Remus/Sirius and the flying motorcycle.)
Kowalski and Fraser send him a postcard from Canada. Snow and pine trees, a mountain in the distance, and Kowalski's scrawl on the back: Not exactly Chicago but I like it. How's the 2-7? Bet your ulcers are better since we're gone.
Harding leaves it in the in-tray for a while, then sticks it on the corkboard by his desk. Some days, midafternoon when the coffee's worn off and his ulcers (not better) are starting up, he looks at it, thinks about cold clean air and quiet, about early retirement, a cabin somewhere.
And then he goes back to work.
(For dodyskin, who asked for the inimitable Harding Welsh.)
Faith never really thought it would be like all those girl-prison movies, with the kinky blonde dyke guards and the perfect tits bouncing everywhere and the bullwhips and stuff, but she wasn't expecting it to be this boring.
Prison's like school. Prison's like fucking study hall, watching the clock tick. Only the bell's not gonna ring for twenty years.
Okay, there's Rosa, little and bleached-blonde and dirty-mouthed and practically Buffy's evil twin, who Faith fucks sometimes, and there was one great fight early on before the girls figured out Faith could kick all their asses and not break a sweat. There's a pretty good gym. There's the do-gooding shrink who tells Faith she needs impulse control and who twitches every time Faith crosses her legs.
But mostly there's just time.
Faith's sorry for the shit she did--she's here, right, and she didn't have to be--but she can't go around being sorry 24/7. Even feeling bad gets boring.
So she thinks about why that dickhead Angel never visits or even sends her a letter, and whether Angel's fucking Wes or Wes just whacks off imagining it, and whether Buffy hates her any less now, and whether Richard Wilkins went to some demon hell place, and whether he misses her.
She thinks about whether some vamp's gonna get Buffy one of these days. If that happens, Faith'll be the Slayer. The world's only, sitting here in the California Institution for Women.
She wonders how long it's gonna take the brainiacs on the Council to figure that out. How soon she can expect a bullet or a knife or some arsenic in her food, so the Council can have a shiny new Slayer-in-waiting.
Maybe she'll fight, or maybe she'll just die. Either way, it's something to look forward to.
(For venus_blue, who wanted to see what I'd do with Faith. Oh dear . . .)