He wasn't going to kill her. It wasn't what he did, especially when he was in a society that could order his execution and have it backed by the entire United States government. Or what if they decided to examine what he was? He could end up back in a government lab somewhere.
As it was now, all he'd done was try to protect himself after being attacked. He could call the police on her and there would be no need for him to be arrested or checked over. He probably wouldn't even have to see the inside of a cell.
Oz couldn't help the dark thought that she was probably going to end up dead anyway. He'd done a real number to her and she need a serious metaphysical kick in the pants to heal it all.
That was the interpretation his mind decided to make of the thought processes displayed by his inner Beast. The original thoughts were more animalistic and bloody, simpler, but there was still an odd kind of intelligence. A cold kind of logic that made him think through everything and the Beast decided human Oz could better handle things.
Which left him flopped out on the floor gasping for breath and desperate for a pair of pants.
At least that itchy, crawling sensation he'd been feeling for the last couple of days had finally gone away. The Beast had really been scratching to get out and he felt undeniably soothed by having it over.
"Hey, man, you think I could get some pants over here?" he asked a Jean-Claude that looked as though he were waiting for Oz to Hulk back out. In reply to his request he received a mildly terrifying bug-eyed look.
Oz was not reassured.* * *
From monstrous beast back to mild mannered musician. It shouldn't have been such a weird concept for a werewolf to get, but there were just a few blockages in his ability to grasp the situation. Namely wanting to know what the hell Oz was.
Jason was reeling. His body was sitting on the floor trying to become one with the background, but mentally he was completely losing his shit. It wasn't exactly something he could stop either. He'd been somewhat certain they were all going to die.
Drawing in a deep, steadying breath, Jason levered himself to his feet. He wondered if he might be in shock as he walked over to Oz and stood looking down at him for a long moment. He received a mild look in return.
"So, what exactly was that?" Jason asked.
Oz gave him the Spock eyebrow, seeming to say, "I have no idea what you mean."
"Don't go all Victorian lady on me," Jason said. "What the hell was that?"
"I think I said it before that you wouldn't like it if I got angry," Oz said. He should have looked ridiculous with his knees bent to hide his exposed genitals, but he was just so completely Zen about it that there wasn't much ground for mockery. All the blood covering him all all also drained a bit of the humor out of the situation; Anita's limp and unmoving body might have been a dampener as well.
"Yeah, but I was picturing temper tantrums and ragefits, not a big hairy monster," Jason said.
"I have some questions as well." Jean-Claude was playing it cool, his face smoothing from a mask of controlled panic to the calmly calculating visage of the Master of the City. Still there was a bit of tightness around his mouth and Jason knew him well enough to recognize his "Everything's all right, the city is only burning" expression.
Oz blinked at him. "Okay," he said mildly. "Someone might want to call a doctor for her though." He waved his hand back at Anita.
Jean-Claude gestured and Dr. Lillian rushed forward with her black medical bag to help the tattered and torn Anita. There was so much blood it streaked across the floor in ribbons of red.
"What are you?" Jason asked, not willing to be deterred. If Anita was going to live, that would be the work of the doctor and there was nothing Jason could do there.
"A little displaced," Oz said. "I'm a different kind of werewolf than you're used to. A more dangerous kind."
"I think I figured that out on my own." Jason looked over his shoulder at where he'd last seen Stephen. "Can I get your jacket?"
Considering most of the werewolves were in animal form, there was a lack of whole clothing. Stephen had been hanging back and had managed to remain fully dressed. Jason's outfit for the night didn't leave him with enough to cover himself, much less anyone else.
"What?" Stephen blinked a moment before finally understanding what Jason had asked. "Oh, of course." He hurriedly took off his tuxedo jacket and tossed it to Jason, not wanting to get too close to Oz.
Jason carried it over to Oz and wrapped it around his shoulders. "Here you go."
"Thanks." Oz gave him a wan but real smile. He pulled the jacket close before standing up, his fingers doing up the buttons quickly. "Being naked in public was the nightmare of an old girlfriend. I think it's my nightmare now too."
"Is it just me, or are you being too casual about this?" Jason asked. "You turned into a big, I don't know what, but that was no wolf, and you attacked Anita."
"Yes," Jean-Claude said, gliding forward on silent vampire feet. "Now what are we to do with you?" There was a malevolent hiss under his words that had Jason's testicles trying to claw their way back up into his body.
Oz shrugged. "I don't know, but Anita attacked me first, and with deadly intent. If you want to call the police, that's fine with me. I really think some time in prison might do her some good." There wasn't any challenge in his tone, but his eyes were level and cool. He was willing to take things as far as he had to.
Jason was getting that creeping sensation that usually presaged the kind of screaming horror he was never able to let go of afterward. It was the feeling he'd gotten when he'd heard Colin's name and he got to experience rotting vampires for the first time.
"You would really wish to invite the attentions of the human authorities, mon ami?" Jean-Claude's eyes shone with blue fire. There was a sudden heaviness in the air, his power almost becoming visible.
"Why not? I was only protecting myself when I was attacked," Oz said. "If she hadn't shot me, no one here would have been in danger. She was trying to kill me, you can't deny that. She shot me in the chest with no warning. That's the kind of thing the police usually want to handle."
Jason shaped a silent whistle. He never would have imagined Oz could be that ballsy. Especially not with Jean-Claude.
The weirdest thing was that it seemed to work. Jason could practically see the wheels turning in Jean-Claude's head.
"I suppose I would be amenable to handling things amongst ourselves," Jean-Claude said.
"You're not going to have me killed or something, are you? Because I'm very uncomfortable with the idea of finding a horse head in my bed." Oz was as laidback as always, his eyes serenely focused on Jean-Claude's. "Might give me nightmares."
There was a curious quirk to Jean-Claude's lips. "We wouldn't want you to have nightmares."
"To be honest, I'm surprised you're not more upset by what I did to Anita," Oz said, adding "not to add fuel to the fire or anything."
Jason was kind of surprised himself. All the other times Anita had gotten herself into danger, Jean-Claude had been the first one to step up to save her.
"She will be fine," Jean-Claude said. "It might take time for her to heal, but I can feel through the Marks that her life force is strong and only getting stronger while we speak. She will live and hopefully will have learned a valuable lesson." There was a nearly cruel pragmatism to Jean-Claude's views.
"Well, I suppose that's good then," Oz said. "I tried not to kill her, once I realized what was happening. It just took me a little while to get my control back."
"Yeah, Anita can have the effect on people," Jason said, then cringed at the look Jean-Claude gave him.
Jean-Claude looked to Oz, raising a censoring brow. "There are some things you failed to tell me about yourself, mon ami
, and that concerns me." There was added emphasis on the "my friend," as though he was questioning the reality of it. "What else are you hiding?"
Oz clutched the front of the jacket and seemed relieved that it reached mid-thigh. "That's about the gist of it. Displaced resident of an alternate reality and werewolf. There's not much more to me than that and playing guitar."
There was a rushing, throbbing sound that reverberated through the whole ballroom like thunder in a bottle. There were screams and a mad scramble to get out of the way as a brightly backlit sickly yellow portal opened in the middle of the room.
A figure stepped through with a nearly chilling implacability. It looked as though it were walking down a long tunnel, growing larger with each step until it came clear as a normal sized woman, red hair whipping around her head in a metaphysical breeze.
"I think I mentioned that my ex-girlfriend was a witch, right?" Oz asked. "A kinda powerful one."
Jason watched as the woman stepped out of the portal and turned to face it, throwing her arms up commandingly. Her voice echoed deep, so loud that Jason covered his ears at the pain of it, unable to make out what she said, though he thought it might have been in another language.
At her command, the ragged edges around the portal smoothed into beautiful concentric circles and the color turned to azure blue.
And through the portal came others, a man and two women all carrying duffel bags and what looked like swords. They walked between worlds as though it were an everyday thing, their strides unbroken as they stepped from one reality to the next.
The redhead turned, her eyes zeroing in on Oz. She was more cute than beautiful, with the kind of face that was built more for smiles than frowns. Right now, with her eyes solid black, Jason was experiencing some definite terror chills.
"I got worried about you, Oz," she said. "We're here to take you home."* * *
Seeping through the darkest places, filling the emptiness and claiming ownership of the Shell. It was a process that usually took hours, days, some timeless bit of eternity where patience was better than speed.
But the Slayer and the Witch were here. It... she
could sense them on the periphery of her consciousness. The old foes come to play again.
She had been weakened for so long, just waiting for the chance to slide back into the corporeal world, but right now with this powerful new Shell, she was ready.
Ready for Round Three.