"I went back for her. I learned how to control the wolf and I went back for her."
They were sitting around the kitchen table. Xander was perched on Spike's lap and Wesley was sitting in the chair next to Oz. The ex-watcher had shifted his chair close to the younger man's and was running a soothing hand up and down his back. They'd closed the shop and come home. Spike had taken over and herded them all into the kitchen. Two bottles of high quality scotch had come out and the four of them had been working their way steadily and silently through them for approximately an hour. Only a little was left in the second bottle and Oz tossed it back before he spoke again. His voice was low and cracked from the scotch and the pain.
"I gave up everything I owned to get to Tibet. I was told I could learn what I needed there. And then I went back to Sunnydale. She let me talk all night about what I'd been through. The places I'd been. About us. About getting back together. She didn't tell me about her. She just let me talk. And then when I was working on getting back into school, when I was sure things would be okay again, I smelled it. That girl...Tara. Willow's smell was all over her. And sex. She smelled like sex. I got so mad. I lost it. But it wasn't her I wanted to kill...it was Willow."
"Oz, you were hurt. After Angel...did what he did I wanted to kill him. I actually made a stake just for him. That's why I left when I had the vision of New Orleans. I still haven't forgiven him, but I don't want to be a murderer."
"I found a spell. When I first got here, I went looking for away to hurt Giles. I was so fucking mad. I found this spell, to turn him into demon. So Buffy would have to kill him. I couldn't use it. I...just couldn't. Buffy didn't do this. She's a lousy excuse for a human being and a worse friend, but she's not responsible for what he did."
Quiet fell over them again. Spike cuddled Xander closer and looked at his friends. Oz was working up to something. What was coming next would be what was really tearing the younger man apart. But something about what Xander had just said struck the vampire as familiar.
"I guess I knew. I must've. Cause I didn't tell her everything. I talked all night. I answered all her questions. But I didn't tell her what happened."
Spike smelled the change in the boy. His anger and despair had drifted into fear. Whatever "it" was, it was what had broken Oz. This was the reason for the tears, the mood swings, the real reason he hadn't stayed in Sunnydale. And Willow had nothing to do with it.
"There were other werewolves at the monastery. Two separate packs. One was run by a woman named Lena. Her pack was clean and smart and fast. But they were glad to be what they were. They didn't come to the monks to fight what they were, they just wanted better control of when and how they changed. The other pack, they belonged to this guy Jonah. They were fucked man. Fighting with each other, hating themselves and everybody else. They came to get the curse taken away. To be healed. I wanted that. So they accepted me. Lena tried to warn me. I didn't listen. For awhile everything was okay. But then...Jonah got pissed. Another guy in the pack tried to challenge him. Jonah ripped his head off. I mean he really ripped his head off. And then...then he...."
"He raped you."
"How did I know? If Mr. Giles had taken even a small amount of time to educate you into the nature of werewolves and how packs are run, you would've known what was going to happen. The headless man challenged for the right to mate with the new arrival, the alpha male couldn't allow that. And with the lack of control they must all have been suffering from, when it was over Jonah wouldn't have been able to stop himself from claiming you."
"Bloody hell. You mean to tell me you didn't know. That git of a watcher never told you how packs work. Just let you wonder around the hellmouth without knowing what you could walk into. Fuck me!"
"Maybe that's what happened with Veruca."
"What do you mean Xander?"
"It's like you said Wes. With no control the alpha has to claim what's in his territory. Oz was the alpha in his pack, cause he was the only werewolf in his pack. So when Veruca started sniffing around his territory instinct just took over."
"Instinct he'd a been able to fight if that flamin git had told him about it. I'm gonna rip that soddin prick's throat out and strangle that Witch Bitch with it. Then I'm gonna use her dead body to beat the slayer to death. I'll cut the bottle blonde Bimbo Queen's body up and mail the pieces to King Hair Gel the Avenging Asshole and his pet fuckwad Thornboy. I don't fucking believe it!! I've met sewer rats with more loyalty and concern for each other then that pack of shit for brained dickweeds. What the hell is wrong with those people? They can't fuckin accept how damaged they are so they do their damnest to tear down the ones that are the least fucked up."
"No, Kitten. Enough of this shit. I've watched the three of you rip yourselves apart because of those assholes and I been bitin my tongue in half to keep from askin you all why you don't know that your better than all of them? Look at Wes. Straight out of the watcher school he gets sent to look after a slayer that one of their supposed best men can't handle. And not one slayer but two. One's a selfish hateful bitch and the other's a fuckin psycho, but it's his fault when they fuck up and murder somebody. And when he tries to do what the council tells him to they fuck up catching the crazed bitch and blame him. So instead of giving up and leaving the unsuspecting masses to get skull fucked at random he goes out on his own to try and help people. And then he hooks up with Angel and he had to have been some good, cause brooding nancy boy or not my Sire's got zero patience and he'd a tossed Wes out on his ass otherwise. And what happens then, the "good guy" fucks him and fucks him over. And let's not forget your ex, the great Cordelia and her little "Here have some visions and some head splitting pain" screw job. And he blames himself for all of it!"
Spike was pacing back and forth across the kitchen. He was enraged. The three mortals could only watch and listen as Spike vented a good year and a half of pent up hostility and pain.
"And you. Xander you're one of the best people I have ever met. You were just a boy, a kid who wasn't even safe in his own home and along comes the Slayer. And then your fighting vampires. No training, no special powers, no magic, nothing. And you still tried to help people. You saved the whole worthless fuckin bunch of them more then a few times and they still treated you like an idiot. And you still helped them. They knew what was goin on in your house, you knew they knew. And they never tried to help. Your supposed friends didn't give one fuck about the fact that you were getting beat black and blue by your own father. And then Giles...that fuck!! He used you Kitten. He took your heart and what was left of your innocence and he fucking ripped them to pieces. And he knew he was doing it. And you felt like it was your fault. You hung around all that time getting Anya to lie for you, taking the insults, letting him use you cause you didn't want to be alone. And when you finally got the nerve to tell him to get fucked he made you feel like it was all your fault. And did even one of your "friends" try and find you when you disappeared? Did they even file a fuckin missing persons report? No!!"
"And now this shit with Oz. Giles didn't tell him one bloody thing about being a wolf. He just left him ignorant and in danger. And that stupid little witch, she cheats on him and everyone blames my Kitten and she's forgiven. But Oz cheats on her and he's the scum of the earth. He left his whole fuckin life behind to make it up to her and she toddles off with Tara the twat. And it's not even Tara's fault cause she's gettin used too. And the simperin little cunt let's him think there's a chance they can be okay again, when she knows there's not. It's obvious there's somethin wrong. But she fuckin ignored it cause it would mean admitting that perfect little Willow is the Queen of the fuck overs. And he still thinks he did somethin wrong."
"All of you blame yourselves for things that other people did to you and I'm fuckin sick of it. Your my bloody family and there is not one damn thing wrong with any of you. They're the fucked up ones. They caused all of this. Fuck them. I'm not letting those assholes cause anymore damage. Wes take Oz upstairs. Tomorrow your gonna find somebody in this town who can help him learn what he needs to know. Kitten shut down the house and get upstairs. I'm goin out for a bite."
"Xander...just go upstairs. I'm too mad to deal right now. None of this is your fault and I don't want to take it out on you. I need to kill something. Just wait for me upstairs, alright?"
"Okay. Be careful."
Spike was out the back door before Xander finished speaking. The young warlock watch as Wes guided a staggering Oz up the stairs. When he heard the door to the ex-watcher's room close, the brunette went from room to room and made sure the house was sealed up for the coming day. He put the alarm spell on and then went up to the bedroom he and Spike shared. The last thing he did before crawling into bed was to strip off his own clothes and put on a pair of his lover's boxers and one of the blonde's favorite t-shirts.