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Membership
By PaBurke
***Summary: Oz drops off a CD and gets much more than he bargained for. ***
***Disclaimer: I play, am not paid, do not own. No infringement intended. ***
***Spoilers: Season 5 Buffy, and Bitten. ***
***Distribution: The Nook ***



“Hey.”

Clayton Danvers glared at the unthreatening werewolf at Stonehaven’s door. It had been years since a mutt had arrived unannounced and this one didn’t look like the normal challenge type. “What the hell are you doing here?” he growled.

The young man offered a flat package wrapped in brown paper. “This is for Peter.”

Clayton snatched the package and tore it open. Inside was an unlabeled CD case with a CD-R inside. The strange werewolf barely reacted to Clayton’s rudeness. All he did was raise an eyebrow. The movement reminded Clayton of Jeremy and for some reason calmed the Pack Enforcer.

“Peter’s dead,” Clayton said.

The stranger blinked and frowned. “How?”

“A mutt.”

Clayton watched the green eyes darken with intent. “Who?”

“He’s dead, too.”

“Good.” With that, the unknown werewolf turned to walk away.

“Hey,” Clayton grabbed the stranger’s arm and dropped his hand once he had the stranger’s attention. “Who the hell are you?”

“Oz.” He waited and then smirked. “You gotta be Clay.”

“How did you know Peter?”

“We met on the road.”

Clay waited for more and Oz just waited. They might have stared at each other all night but Elena came to the front door to see what was keeping her boyfriend.

“Clay?” she asked.

“Friend of Peter’s. Name’s Oz.”

Elena became interested in the unfamiliar werewolf. She didn’t recognize him from the dossiers, which meant that he was either new or really kept under the radar. But Peter had been dead for over two years. “Really?”

Oz shrugged. “Just stopped by to finish Peter’s collection.”

“Collection?” she repeated.

“He had all the CD’s for the pathetic groups I was in,” Oz explained. “I wanted him to have a decent one, too.”

Clayton looked thoughtful. “Dingoes Ate My Baby?”

Oz nodded in surprise.

Clayton turned the CD over in his hands. He grabbed Oz’s elbow again and hauled him into the house. “You need to meet Jeremy.”

Oz looked to Elena for direction but she was staring in wonder. “Clayton?”

Clayton grunted in response.

“Are you . . . sponsoring Oz with his Pack application?” she asked.

Clayton grunted again and shoved Oz into Jeremy’s office. Jeremy looked up from his work with surprise. “Clayton?”

“This is Oz.”

Oz stumbled to a stop before the Alpha. “Hey.”

“He’s a friend of Peter’s. I think he should stay.”

Jeremy stared at Oz. Oz watched him back.

“Do you have plans for dinner,” Jeremy finally queried.






Management
By PaBurke
***Summary: Sequel to Membership. It’s Oz’s turn to take care of Pack business. ***
***Disclaimer: I play, am not paid, do not own. No infringement intended. ***
***Spoilers: Season 5 Buffy, and Bitten. ***
***Distribution: The Nook ***



Antonio paced in the Stonehaven living room. Every business deal he had touched in the recent days had blown up in his face. Nothing was going as he expected and too many things were going wrong at the same time for it to be a coincidence. The rest of the Pack just watched as Antonio fumed.

Jeremy, Elena and Clay knew the first order of business would be to call the other members of the supernatural council and ask if they knew anything. Nick was less concerned for his father’s vague financial difficulties, which he felt would iron themselves out given time, than for the new werewolf that had joined the Pack in his absence.

This was the first time he had met Oz. The new member had not tried to achieve dominance over Nick, nor had he made himself submissive to Nick. He simply was. He hadn’t said much as Nick had visited and from Elena had mentioned, Oz rarely said much at all. At least he had put down his guitar in favor of his laptop computer. Nick was pretty sure that Oz was listening to the conversation, though his fingers never paused as they flew over the keyboard.

“It’s become pure chaos, I tell you.”

Oz’s head lifted at Antonio’s statement. He placed his hands on either side of his computer and tilted his head. “You haven’t met with an Ethan Rayne recently, have you?”

Antonio whirled on Oz. “What do you know?”

“Chaos’s MO. And if he’s in your town . . .” Oz let the thought dangle. He directed his gaze to Jeremy. “M’be I should take care of this one.”

Oz had never before volunteered to take care of Pack business. Jeremy nodded slowly. “You’ll take Elena,” he ordered.

Clay jerked at that. “I’ll pack our bag.”

“No,” said Jeremy. “You’re staying.”

Clay glowered but he wouldn’t argue in front of the collected Pack. Oz returned to his computer and the rest looked to Jeremy for direction.

Elena wasn’t much for waiting so she spoke. “What time we leaving?”

“After dinner.”

Seeing as it was already four-thirty in the afternoon and Oz’s homemade stew and bread had been tantalizing the Pack’s senses for the most of the day, Elena nodded. She left to pack. Antonio quietly asked Jeremy for a private audience to discuss the new wolf’s competence. Nick made a quick exit to check out what was cooking in the kitchen.

“Clay?” Oz said.

Clayton grunted.

“We should be back before daybreak. Before midnight, if I get everything together.”

Clayton relaxed a bit. “If anything happens to Elena,” he threatened.

Oz simply nodded.

“Need anything?” Clay offered.

“A city map.”

Clayton heaved himself to his feet and went to search the vehicles’ glove compartments. Oz turned back to his computer and the IM conversation he had been having.


***


“Ready?”

Elena looked mournfully at the pot of stew still on the stove. It had been delicious and there would not be any left when they returned. Nick and Clayton were already eating their third bowl and Antonio was on his fourth. Having Oz cook for the Pack was a quick way to get him into everyone’s good graces. There were some distinct advantages to letting Oz sleep at Stonehaven.

“You okay, darling?” Clay gently touched her cheek.

Elena nodded.

“I can still come,” he offered.

Elena frowned. “We can handle it.”

“Call when it’s over,” Jeremy ordered.

Elena waved her phone at the Alpha, picked up her backpack and the Ford’s keys and followed Oz to the driveway. Oz climbed into the passenger’s seat, leaving Elena to drive. She didn’t mind. Oz handed over a set of driving direction, written in a tight handwriting. This would be the easy part.


***


“Pull over here.”

Elena steered the SUV into the back of the gas station parking lot. Those were the first words Oz had spoken the whole trip. If it had been anyone, Elena would have said that the silence indicated unease.

Oz unclipped his seat belt and turned toward Elena. He opened the city map to its fullest and dug a candy bar out of his backpack. He opened the chocolate and broke off a triangle. With his pocketknife, he carefully bore a hole into a corner. He then threaded a chain through the hole.

Elena watched, somewhat interested and then reached for the chocolate.

“You really don’t want to eat that,” Oz said.

Elena paused. “What’s wrong with it?”

“Stale, for one.”

“Then what are you doing with it?”

“Rayne magicked it.”

Not an answer but Elena decided that she did not want chocolate after all. “Why keep it then?”

“Easy way to check on Rayne’s whereabouts.”

“Are you a sorcerer?”

“No.” Oz closed his eyes and mumbled something. Elena shifted impatiently as she waited. Suddenly the chocolate broke off the chain and skittered to a point on the map. Oz checked it against their location. “Thought I smelled him,” he muttered.

He folded up the map, put it and the candy bar in his backpack and zipped up his jacket. With his hand on the door handle he said, “Coming?”

“You don’t want me to follow with the SUV, so we don’t carry a body anywhere?” Maybe she had been hanging with Clay too much if that was a legitimate question.

“There won’t be a body.” Oz was sure of the outcome of this confrontation.

Elena shook her head but followed Oz across the street and down the other side. Oz walked unerringly into a bar half way down the block. A couple of the patrons yelled out to Elena but she ignored them. Oz skirted around some tables and stood in front of a man drinking by himself.

“Rayne.”

The man turned his crafty eyes on Oz, than he looked puzzled. “Do I know you?”

“Peripherally.”

Rayne glanced at Elena and deemed her unimportant. Elena hoped that they killed him anyway. Something about the man rubbed her the wrong way. Oz shifted and Rayne suddenly looked wary. “Are you one of Ripper’s brats?”

“Yes.”

Elena could almost taste the man’s fear. That surprised her, that Oz’s one word could have that kind of effect.

“What do you want?” the man demanded.

“Leave the wolves alone.”

Rayne looked insulted. “I accepted a lot of money to make their lives miserable.”

“Buffy and Giles are coming for a visit.”

Rayne’s face went white as a sheet. “But not that much.”

Oz turned around and left the bar. Elena blinked at Rayne for a moment. Oz hadn’t postured, he hadn’t threatened; he just left. Elena considered snarling at the man for good measure, but didn’t think it would make much of an impression. She followed Oz and caught up with him at the SUV.

“That’s it?” she asked.

Oz nodded. “You need directions to get out of here?”

“N-No.”

Oz leaned his chair back, curled up and closed his eyes. He was planning on sleeping on the way home. Elena stared at Oz for a moment. Then she put the key into the ignition and reached for her cell phone. “How sure are you that Rayne will leave Tonio alone?” she asked.

“How much money do you have in your bank account?” Oz countered.

“Would he have told us who hired him?”

“No.”

“You sure? ‘Cause Clay . . .”

“No.”

Time to try another track. “Who’s Ripper?”

“Giles.”

“When’s he going to visit?”

“It won’t be at Stonehaven.”

Elena shrugged and dialed home. The job Jeremy sent them to do was done. Her Alpha could pry answers from Oz; Elena didn’t have the patience.


Comments

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
shamangrrl
Jan. 10th, 2014 11:10 pm (UTC)
Oz, for the win
I've always loved Oz, and was sorry when he left Buffy. He packed so much into his silences and raised eyebrows. Thanks for this.
faithburke
Jan. 10th, 2014 11:57 pm (UTC)
Re: Oz, for the win
Oz Is such a favorite, to this day. I'm glad others appreciated him.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )