Title: Finding the Right Fit Part 3 of the Finding the Whole Friend Trio Author: Voracity Email: email@example.com Please See Part 1 for Warnings, disclaimers, and the like.
Finding the Right Fit
Xander sat down across from Oz at his table. "Wow," he said finally. The older man nodded. "Why use all that energy to get me?"
Oz shrugged. "Don't know. Must be a reason." He took a bite of his sandwich then opened it to see what it was.
"Sorry, my favorite." He ate a part of his own. "It okay? I can make you something else."
Oz shook his head, taking another bite. "S'fine," he said around the food. He chewed thoughtfully, then swallowed. "What's up with Giles?" Xander shrugged. "Lying?"
"Yeah, okay. He thinks the succubus gave up to easily." He finished his sandwich then sat back. "But the why me part still bothers me."
Xander looked sad. "I'd like to think I have a life outside of that." Oz gave him a look. "Hey, I can delude myself."
"That's what the look was for. You have a life outside us." He took a drink of milk. "You have your online life and the whole Willow/you thing too."
Xander shook his head. "Online I'm a lurker."
"Don't have anything to contribute. I don't write."
"Nope, know my limits." He got up, putting his plate in the sink. "Want another?" The older man shook his head. "Okay." He sat back down. "Now what?"
"TV or music?"
"Well, I have both but I think we listen to different stuff." He grinned, putting those dirty dishes into the sink then heading upstairs after Oz. He stopped in the doorway, watching the older man squat down to look at the titles. "More in the cabinet," he said, walking over to sit on the bed so he could hide an embarrassment.
Oz opened up the cabinet, looking at all the tapes. "Who pirates for you?"
"I do. I borrow for a night and copy." He pointed at the salvaged double tape machine in the corner. "Goodwill, ten dollars."
Oz nodded. "Sounds good." He stood, opening the cd player then started it.
"Present from uncle to embarrass my parents."
"I have a writeable stack." Oz sat on the bed. "If you find one, I'll copy."
"Thanks man." He pulled his feet under him. "I like this cd, it tends to say in there." He was kinda grateful when Oz didn't mention that he only had seven cd's. "What're you listening to these days?"
"Hmm, Offspring, British old punk, Queen." Xander raised an eyebrow. "They were very innovative and great showmen."
"So I've noticed on VH-1." He grinned. "I just didn't think you'd listen to them."
"I'm actually very diverse." Oz leaned back, listening.
Xander felt a need to do or say something, but he didn't. There wasn't any reason, they had the comfortable silence thing going.
Oz opened his eyes, turning his head to look at the younger man. "Relax," he said quietly.
And Xander did.
Xander walked into Oz's room, big grin showing. "Can I use your computer? There's a waterfall in the lab."
Oz pulled the headphone plug out, flooding the room with music. "Sure."
Xander listened to the music flowing around him, not moving. "Wow," he said between songs. "It's ... it's so real."
Oz's mouth twitched, almost smiling. "Yeah it is." Xander sat on the floor next to the bed, near a speaker. "I take it you like?" The younger man nodded, mute.
"Can you copy it for me?" Xander asked, reverent in the new quiet.
"Sure, get me a CDW." He picked up the remote, restarting it. "Go check your mail."
Xander nodded, slow to move. He finally got up, canceling the screen saver and logging into his account. He was surfing happily when the first funny song came up, his smile getting wider and brighter as it went on. At the end, he looked over at his friend. "I didn't know they knew me." He ducked the pillow. "Hey, I admit to trying too hard."
Willow leaned in the door. "Xan? I thought you might be headed for my computer." She blew Oz a kiss. "Be right back."
Xander saved down his last email, closing the browser. "Thanks man." He stood up. "I'll give you some..." He wasn't quick enough to duck this pillow.
Willow giggled. "Oh, stay and listen. I'm taking a study break to bring Buffy muffins." She handed over the covered basket. "Not too bad, a little dry."
Oz took them, looking over the misshapen lumps. "First batch?"
"Last." She smiled. "Her mother decided they should do a girl-stuff moment and have practical experience too." She wiggled her fingers. "The math calleth me again." She left.
Oz waited until she was gone. "Not that brave," he said, handing the whole basket over.
Xander looked over them. "Not sure I am either." He touched the top of one, wincing at the anti- springiness it had. "Want to go feed some ducks?"
"Planning on animal cruelty?" Oz partially gave him a questioning look. "I didn't know you were like that."
"No, but they can digest almost anything."
"That's goats and pigs."
"None of those around here." He set the basket on the desk, sitting down to listen to some more of the music. "Is it okay if I listen?"
"Sure, have fun." He plugged back in the headphones, handing them over. "Been listening to it all day." He picked up a book, flipping to the bent page, letting the younger man experience great music for the first time.
Giles frowned at the young, shifting man. "Xander," he tried to sound patient, "if you need to burn energy that bad, maybe you should go run or something."
"Sorry," he said quietly. He shifted again, going back to his research.
Giles counted, making it all the way to five before it started again. He put down his book, watching the cause of his annoyance, the present one anyway. Every few seconds he would shift like he was trying to get comfortable. He was reading, seemingly paying attention, but his body was betraying him.
Buffy couldn't stand it anymore. "That's it!" she said loudly, slamming her book down. "What's up?" She turned to the younger man, frowning at him. "Why are you nervous or whatever?"
Xander shrugged. "I was just thinking." He stood up, putting his book down carefully. "I'm going home." He walked out, running into the couple as he left. "Night guys."
Willow turned to watch him leave while Oz asked the pertinent question, "What's wrong with him?"
Buffy shrugged, mimicking Giles. "Not a clue. He was moving."
Willow frowned. "Like shifting?" The Watcher and the Slayer nodded, both frowning now. "He was thinking about something deep." She picked up his book. "You had him reading this?" She flipped through the book on succubuses and other sexual demons. "That's cruel," she said, sitting down.
Oz lifted up the book so he could see the title. "He's still not sure why she picked him." He walked out. "I'll go talk to him."
Willow frowned at her friends. "He's still real insecure about that whole thing. No wonder he was upset."
Giles started to get up, but Buffy stopped him. "Oz's got it." The older man nodded. "Okay, so we're still trying to figure out why she didn't fight harder, right?" He sat back down, getting back to his book.
Oz drove slowly down the younger man's street, watching for him to appear. When he didn't, he stopped at his house, looking up at the lit window. He got out, going to knock on the door. "Hey, you run?" he asked when it was answered by the object of his search. He stepped inside, pulling out the pirated cd. "Yours."
Xander smiled. "Thanks." He led the way back to his room, ignoring his father's dirty look on the way. "I was just thinking but apparently it bothered some people."
"You were being shifty again," Oz explained. He sat down on the bed, facing the younger man. "Want to share?"
"No, just thinking about the differences between practical and book knowledge." He slipped the cd in, turning it on and adjusting the volume down. "Two of the people on one of my lists are getting married."
"And it started you thinking about your own relationship?" Xander shook his head. "The other side?"
Xander smiled, leaning against his wall. "Yeah, I was thinking about that part. Well the man part really but same thing." He closed his eyes, thumping his head against the wall a few times. "I don't know if I want to start looking or not but I'm sure I've thought about it enough."
"Well, dating is a big step." Oz shifted some, pulling his bowling shirt over to cover a slight case of embarrassment. "Doing it here might be a bit of a problem though."
"I know where the club is."
"But who will you meet there?" Xander looked up, startled. "Your first time shouldn't be with some club predator looking for a night long thing."
The younger man nodded. "I know. I want it to mean something this time but I'd almost have to either be really relaxed or trust the guy completely. There aren't too many occasions of either recently. How do I know that it won't be an incubus sent by the succubus? Or that they're clean or anything else of the maze of potential problems?" He sighed. "There's just so much more to think about this way." He thumped his head again. "Maybe this isn't me and I've been deluding myself."
"No, you're you. This is a natural fear." Oz got up, coming over to sit beside him. "When I was trying to figure this out, I went to one of my best friends that knew these things. I watched a home movie of his. That's how I decided that it wasn't for me. The actual sex didn't play into it."
"Maybe it was the person." Xander covered his mouth. "Forget I said that."
Oz nodded. "Maybe." He laid a hand on his friend's arm. "Just don't get drunk and rush into it. Trust me on this."
Xander nodded slowly. "I do." He looked at Oz. "Thanks."
"Welcome." He stood up. "Want to come back or are you going to think here for a while?"
"Here, or actually the Bronze. I don't want to be here." He looked down at himself as he stood. "I look okay." He grabbed his wallet and keys. "Much better place to sit and think."
"All the music insulates," Oz agreed. "Want a ride?"
"No, I'm fine. It's only a few blocks and most everyone's not up yet." He tugged on his shirt. "Have fun reading the history of demons having sex." He walked out, followed by the older man.
Oz noticed someone familiar coming down the street. "Get in the van," he said, opening the door. "Spike's out." He got in, starting the engine. He pulled out onto the street. "Still want to go?"
"Yeah, I need someplace to be anonymous." He waved at Spike as they drove past. "Stupid fuck," he muttered.
"My, what language." Oz pulled up in front of the club. "Have fun, be safe."
"Sure, always." Xander got out, heading inside. He waved over his shoulder, caught up again in his thoughts.
"Hell, he shouldn't be alone," Oz said, pulling out. "I'll tell them where he is, maybe Buffy'll look in on him." He headed toward the school, keeping to the well lit streets.
Xander picked a comfortable couch in a corner, sipping his soda while he watched the people and thought. He knew he was ready for that last step, had been for a while now. He knew all the things he needed to, including surfing a medical sight for problems and advice. He knew he wanted it, knew what he wanted to try, but the how and who were still missing. He could go to the club he had mentioned to Oz but the older man had been right about him not meeting the person he needed for that first time there. He didn't know too many gay guys either, someone that he could and would trust to take him up that last step. But he did see a few familiar faces in the crowd tonight, Larry and his boyfriend, who had become his friend after that punch. He waved Larry's boyfriend walked over. "Hey," he said.
The other guy sat down; tall, blonde, athletic as a poster boy for Wheaties. "You look like you're in deep thoughts."
"Pools of them." He grinned, taking another drink of his soda. "How're you two?"
"Oh, fine. We're good. Larry's being nice right now because we got into a fight. What's up?" He laid an arm along the back of the couch. "Anything I can help with?"
"Tell me how to do this my first time?" Xander looked over at Larry. "How did you catch him?"
"Club. He came in really confused and the bartender asked some of us if we wouldn't go interrupt his thoughts." He shrugged, smiling up at his lover. "We've been mostly on cloud ten since then."
Xander scooted over so Larry could sit down. "Hi," he said.
"Telling him your secret for catching only the best?" He touched his lover's hand, careful not to be too indiscrete. "Or just general talking."
"Our newbie's ready to take the plunge and he's still wondering." He grinned at his mate. "I'd lend you mine love, but I'm possessive."
Xander smiled. "No, not what I want, sorry man." He looked at Larry. "I gotta have someone I trust." Larry nodded. "Thanks."
"Not a big. We all felt that way at one time." He smiled, clasping hands behind Xander's head. "I found him and I'm happy he was my first. I wouldn't trade that memory for anything."
Xander nodded. "Thanks guys." He stood up. "I'm gonna go home and think some about the who part." He left, tossing his cup away.
Larry looked at his lover. "Do you think he knows someone or is it just a general trying to figure it out?"
"Oh, I think he has someone that he trusts, but I'm not sure if he feels comfortable asking him that." He moved closer. "Now, you were promising me a dance?"
"Why was your friend here earlier?" Xander's father called as he walked past.
"To let me borrow a cd." He headed up to his room, locking the door behind him. He turned back on the cd and laid down. What the obviously happy couple had said had made him think about one specific person. Someone that he trusted with his life and that was always very careful of him. But he knew that it was impossible to even think about, let alone ask for. He'd never do it.
Xander rolled onto his side, looking at his few pictures. He stared at the one of him and Willow from a few years ago, Buffy had been sick that day. He wondered what she would think of this topic? He knew she'd be upset that he was thinking about that man that way, after all he wasn't his. Maybe the club was a better idea after all. Then he could get mildly drunk and forget about it. But Oz had said that was a bad idea and his eyes had that ‘from personal experience' look to them. He simply couldn't do that to him. Contrary to popular belief, he did think more of himself than to go have a one night stand with a guy. He wanted this first time to be special. Not hurried, not wasted, not pressured. A nice calm time that made him know if he was able to do it as well as think it. And there was only one person he could trust to give that to him but he was taken. So maybe he should just wait until the time was more right.
Hell, he still had Cordy and she had been pressuring him to do her, thinking she would change his mind about men. And he was honest enough to admit he'd been sleeping with her to prove himself wrong, that he was straight, but that wasn't fair to them, so maybe they should break up. There was the whole prom issue too, but he was sure she'd find someone to take her. All she had to do was snap her fingers and men came running. Now if only he had that problem.
He fell asleep, thinking and dreaming about that happening. Maybe that wouldn't be such a bad power to have.
Xander caught Willow's arm, pulling her away from the others. "Can I ask you a hypothetical?" She nodded, pulling him farther away. "Later, we don't have time now."
"All right, um, I'll be home until I leave for here tonight." She patted the side of his face, walking back to the rest of the group.
Xander continued in to the library, some older dude advice was warranted also. He closed the door behind him, walking into the office before the librarian had a chance to come out and see who it was. "I need to talk, got about five?"
Giles got up, closing the door. "Of course." He waved at a chair. "What can I help you with."
"You remember our talk about...me and my problem?" Giles' face scrunched up for a second but he relaxed it as he nodded. "Well, I think I'm ready but I want to be specific about my first time. The only problem with that is that the guy I want is taken." He took a deep breath. "I don't think I want a relationship with him, although it's a nice pipe dream, but I need someone I can trust."
Giles cleared his throat. "I'm flattered...."
"Ewww, no, we are not talking about you."
Giles shook his head. "I was going to say that you feel you can come to me with this. That particular thought had never crossed my mind." He sat back, smoothing out the wrinkles in his vest, tie, and shirt. "You say he's taken?" Xander nodded. "And that he would or would not be adverse to the question."
"Probably not. I know he's had thoughts but it's not him." He shrugged. "I want someone I can trust and that makes me feel safe."
"I see. Well, I would discuss this with the specific person without anyone else knowing." He frowned. "Please don't upset his girlfriend, we'll all be much worse off if this causes a split."
"Hey, hypothetical here, not a person. And I wouldn't do that. I value both of their friendships too much." He cleared his throat. "But if I do, then she might get mad."
"Well, yes, there is that. There's also the broken link in their own relationship which may be not be able to be fixed. You must consider both parties in such a case." He looked up, hearing someone coming through the doors. "I do believe that would be Buffy, maybe you would like to use the back exit?" He pointed the way. "Just to keep your anonymity?" Xander nodded, hurrying out. "Coming," he called out to his charge, walking out to meet her before she could get into trouble with the weapons.
Xander walked through the halls, wandering aimlessly, too unfocused to pretend to pay attention in class. He made it to the lounge area, sitting down on a semi-comfy couch. He looked around, remembering all the happy times they'd had there as a group, trying hard to forget them now. Giles was right, he could ruin everything with this. Nothing would ever be the same with them. Could he still do this if it broke up the group? Could he risk everyone's health and happiness to get his selfish whim fixed? He shook his head, ducking back into the jumbled spot in his mind. He had to decide whether or not to even put forth the question now. He couldn't ruin someone else's happiness because of this. Especially not theirs.
Xander picked up the phone again, but ended up hanging it up again. He couldn't do it, couldn't take a chance that she would be mad at him and break them up. He couldn't do that to Oz.
He rolled onto his back, tossing a soft ball up at the ceiling. Not fun, but something that he could get lost in, the spinning ball, the spiraling colors on it. The ball hit him on the nose when he heard a knock at his door. He got up, going over to answer it. "Willow," he said, surprised. He didn't think she'd come over.
"Hey, you said you wanted to talk and then you never showed up." She closed and locked the door behind her. "What's up?"
He shook his head. "I figured it out." He went back to his bed.
"You know," she said, sitting down on the end of his bed, "you've always been a terrible liar to me." She patted his foot. "Something about me?"
He bit his lip, shaking his head, not daring to let it come out now. He couldn't do that to them. "It's nothing. Giles helped me see I was wrong to even think it."
Willow nodded. "You want to take that last step and you want someone we both know." She smiled sadly at his shock. "Hey, I'm the smart one in this pairing, you just do the tough stuff."
He nodded. "And this is one of those."
"No, but a similar situation." He cleared his throat. "He's taken," he said quietly, hoping that she wouldn't get it.
"And how would their other feel?"
"Shitty," he said, pulling a pillow up to cover his face. "Which is why I can't ask." He held it down, breathing in his own scent. "I can't do that to them."
Willow frowned. "Hmmm, you never have the simple problems do you." She pulled the pillow away from him, hugging it herself. "Now then, what makes you think they'll be upset? They might feel flattered, as would the person."
"I can't let them break up over something this trivial." He pulled the pillow back. "I'm sorry you came over here for this, but it's now a moot point." He covered his face again.
"When did you start using that phrase?"
"Since Giles explained it to me in a really cool way. It seems to fit right now." He held the pillow tighter. "Go home."
"Okay, but when you're ready to face this, call me. None of us expect you in tonight anyway." She patted his foot, walking out.
Xander was about to get up to lock the door, it'd been half an hour since Willow had left so it was about time. He stopped when the knob started to turn slowly. "Wait a sec, I'm getting dressed," he called. He threw the lock before the latch was released. "Who is it?"
"Me," Oz said. "Brought you a cd I thought you might like." He tried the handle again so Xander unlocked it. "Having fun with the games?"
"No, didn't know who it was. I'm not taking any chances right now." He went back to the bed. "Pop it in if you want."
Oz stopped the Offspring cd, putting in this new one. "It's kinda old but it's a good one." He sat down on the end of the bed, mimicking his girlfriend's earlier position. "So, why'd you piss her off?"
"Didn't mean to." He closed his eyes. "Sounds nice, lots of undertones."
Oz nodded. "That's why I thought you'd like it. You seem to be more attuned in that direction." He looked at the younger man. "Why'd you want to talk to her anyway?" He heard a light groan. "Okay, spill."
"It's nothing." He rubbed over his forehead, the headache that had started earlier coming back now. "I wanted her opinion but then the other person I asked for advice made me see I was being selfish so can't ask what I want to. Hence, nothing to talk about." He shrugged. "End of it for today."
Oz nodded. "So, you wanted to ask who what?" He stared until Xander looked at him. "I'm sure I can help if you'd tell me," he said quietly.
"No, actually you can't." He decided to spill it, better to not let it fester. Of course he couldn't come out and say it but he could pose the question. "I think I'm ready for my first time but the guy I want because I trust him is taken."
Oz nodded. "Complicated. But how would this person's other feel?"
"Oh, I can imagine a few things, most of them ending in my death." He laid back again, closing his eyes. "I can't ask because it's not right."
"You can't not ask because this is something that's got to happen sometime but you can't ask because he's taken and it would hurt this other person's relationship?" Xander nodded. "Hell, you never do a problem by halves do you?"
Xander shook his head. "Nope, I've decided to become complicated."
"Less funny guy and more you." He waited for the faked humor to leave. "So, explain this out to me."
"I want and need someone I can trust, someone safe, but I can't break up their relationship because it's too important to me." He shrugged. "About the whole of it."
Oz scooted closer to the younger man. "What makes you think we'd break up over that?" Xander looked shocked. "Giles kept staring at me during my free period in there so I made him spill."
The younger man swallowed hard. "Listen, I don't want to upset you, or break you guys up, that's not this."
Oz stopped him, pinching the excusing lips together. "I'm not upset. For that matter, neither was she." He looked at the door. "Want to go someplace private and talk?"
Xander grabbed his jacket and the cd. "Can we play it?"
"Sure, I can do that." He led the way down to his van, past a pissed looking father. "He's gonna yell."
"Yeah, but I'm not gonna listen." Xander relaxed into the comfortable seat. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't have asked anyone else and I shouldn't be putting this on you."
Oz stopped at the end of the street, not even at the sign. "You're not. I'm flattered, just not sure if I can do that." He pulled onto a bigger street, heading for the woods. "I've got other concerns here, you know."
"Yeah, which is why I should go pick up somebody and do it that way." He closed his eyes, not noticing the van had pulled over. Oz pinched his arm. "Hey, that hurts," he said, rubbing the spot. He looked at the older man, seeing the pain in his eyes. "Sorry."
"Say that once more and I'll make Giles give you the self-esteem lecture. Again." He pulled back out, going into the very nice state forest part of the woods. "Look for a good talking spot."
Xander knew this part of the woods pretty well. "Two more miles on the left, dirt road, some gravel. Leads up to an old fire lookout that's empty this time of year."
Oz pulled off where he needed to. "How'd you find this place?"
"Ran away to here a few times. It's only occupied during fire season because of budget cuts." He looked out over the valley. "I'd stop soon."
Oz stopped the van, turning it off. "Pretty view. Small hill."
"Very, that's why I used to come up here to be alone." He shifted, turning to look at the older man. "Oz, I don't want to hurt what we have in friendship or what you and Willow have in love. I want nothing like that."
"You just want someone that knows what they're doing and would be gentle enough. I can understand that. Trust me, much better than mine was."
"Do you remember much of it?"
"Pain, lots of alcohol. Some antibiotics for a few weeks." He shrugged. "Not too memorable all in all." He leaned his seat back. "Why me?"
"Because I trust you. I know that you like me, at least a little as a friend, and you took care of me for over a week." He blushed slightly, just a hint of color coming back from the earlier shock of Oz asking him. "You're safe to me. Someone I know won't hurt me but will show me what I need to know."
Oz nodded slowly. "Okay, I get that but it still doesn't answer the why me part. You could go to Giles for that." The younger man shuddered. "He's not that bad Xan, not if you strip away the tweed and formalness."
"Maybe, but I can't think of him like that." He shuddered again. "The very thought of him doing... that to me, it squicks me."
"You aren't ready to do it if you can't say it," Oz reminded him. "Fundamental rule of virgins."
"I've heard someone say that before." He grinned. "She was always on my hormonal case about that."
Oz almost grinned. "Mine too." He turned to look at his friend, seeming to curl up in his seat. "What about her?"
"I don't want to hurt her."
"Is that why you came to her for advice?"
"That and she's my oldest friend. I can always count on her to make me see sense and reason." He shook his head. "Giles did that for me this morning."
"He was wrong."
"No, he wasn't. I can't hurt what you two have, can't get in there and break you up." He turned to look out the window. "Almost sunset."
"Want to go back?"
"Don't you play tonight?"
"Yeah, but that's not until nine." He touched the trembling arm, smelling and hearing the soft noises that the younger man made. "Why me?" he asked again, wanting the real reason. "Try the truth."
"Lust." He closed his eyes, the shame hitting him. "I want it to be you." He turned his head away, not wanting the older man to see his face.
"Huh, the truth that cuts through the concerns." He ran his hand up the arm but it was drawn away. "Not a good start."
"You shouldn't, you're taken, and I shouldn't for the same reason."
"And if I say it's okay?"
"What about Willow?"
"She understands. Who do you think called and asked me to come talk to you."
"So the cd was just a ruse?"
"Hey, we agreed, no misplaced humor."
"That's it, I'm going to get the self esteem brochures out. You've apparently never heard of the concept."
"You know, you talk a lot more when it's just us." He looked at his friend. "I have heard of it, but I'm not a practicing member of that faith."
"I can see that." He looked out the side window. "Do we have to worry about the bad guys up here?"
"Nope, a group of Wiccans occasionally comes up here for celebrations but not anybody else."
"Good. I want to try something." He pulled Xander around suddenly, taking possession of his mouth, invading it with his. When he pulled back, he was almost smiling again. "I think we have a match here."
"Yeah, but that still doesn't solve the redheaded problem. I don't want to be made into demonchow."
"She won't. She'll understand. I told her about me when you first came out and she understood then. She even said it was okay if that came up. She trusts you not to take me fully away from her."
"Shh," he interrupted, forcefully. "Not another word." He paused, waiting for the command to be violated. "She and I talked about all of this months ago. She wasn't too thrilled with the idea for about ten minutes then got quickly overjoyed. Seems women like to watch two guys almost as much as guys like to watch two women." The younger man smiled. "I'd be happy to do it for you. No strings attached."
"No hurt feelings?"
"No, no hurt feelings on any of our parts. No treating you differently. Not even a party to celebrate it." He went back to touching the shaking arm. "What?"
"I'm not sure if I'm scared or happy," he admitted. "It's like I want to do this right now but then I want to wait and draw it out."
Oz did grin a little at that. "Such a virgin." He shook his head. "We can't just do it in one night, you have to work your way up to it." He handed over a book he'd been planning to give him anyway. "Here, I read this."
Xander looked through it, staring at the very graphic pictures. "I don't," he cleared his throat, showing the picture instead of saying it, "have any of those."
"Then this will be a bit in the future. I'm not going to do this unless you're prepared fully." He tweaked the end of the younger man's nose. "And you have to actually ask Xander, as in saying the words." Xander nodded, opening and closing his mouth, trying to get it out. "I know, it's going to be in a long while, right?" He nodded, grateful. "Okay, let's get you home."
"I could go research tonight."
"They'll all be at the Bronze. Even Giles admitted we all need free time." He started the van. "Maybe by this summer you'll be ready."
Xander decided to go back to his funny guy persona. "Does this mean we're dating?"
Oz shook his head. "I don't think you'd like that. I get possessive." He pulled back down the road, turning around as soon as he could. "Oh, and you owe me two t-shirts now. That one's mine too."
Xander looked down at it. "Yeah, I remembered later that night. It's just comforting to me."
Oz shook his head. "Then I'll come steal a few of yours." He turned back onto the main road. "Left is home?"
Oz turned left and they headed back toward town.
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