OZ (Friday afternoon)
After Xander left the studio he continued his stroll down Main Street. He was still distracted by his conversation with Anya, so he nearly tripped over the red and white cane of a blind woman walking the opposite direction.
“Excuse me,” Xander said as he moved to the side. The woman faced Xander with milky white eyes but continued on without stopping. A glint of silver drew Xander’s attention to her hand; the ring with the seal of Taraka was a clear sign the wearer was more than human. As he tried to keep the blind Tarakan in view Xander nearly collided with a man who was intently peering in the window of Eddie’s Axes, Sunnydale’s only guitar shop.
The hitman whipped his head around to see who had called his name, hand on his gun before he recognized the other man. “Oz?”
Oz watched as Xander slowly pulled his empty hand out from under his jacket. “Been back long?”
“Just got in,” Xander said.
“So, ten years,” observed Oz.
“Yup. Still a werewolf?”
“Mmm-hmm. And you?”
“Hmm,” Oz said. “I hope you’ve got a good therapist.”
Xander chuckled dryly. “Yeah.”
“You’ve been practicing your terse,” Oz noted.
“I had you as a role model.”
Oz nearly smiled, then said, “I should probably take you to see Willow.”
Oz cocked his head and looked at Xander carefully. “Do you need to hit Willie’s Alibi Room first? ‘Cause you really don’t look too good.”
“Naw; I don’t drink.”
Oz nodded. “We can take my van if you don’t mind the mess.”
“What? Still carting around drum kits and amps for your gigs,” asked Xander as he peered in to the back, where the entire rear of the van had been converted into a thick steel kennel. There were two sleeping bags with pillows laid out in the cage. “For you and Willow?”
“Yeah.” Oz sounded almost smug.
“I’ll follow in my car. Willow’s parents’ house?”
Oz nodded. “We crash there whenever we’re in town.”
“Harris Import-Export. This is Joan, how may I help you?”
“I just bumped into a blind Tarakan while I was strolling down Main Street. Any info on that?”
“Shoot. Sorry, sir.”
“What’s up, Joan?”
“I just got off the phone with a friend.” The secretary cleared her throat nervously. “I heard a rumor that the Tarakans are going to try and fulfill your contract before you can.”
“Son of a bitch!”
“I assume they’ve got a standard team of three on-site.” Joan paused and waited for Xander’s reply. After a moment she asked, “Are you going to be alright, sir?”
“Peachy,” Xander said, and slid his phone shut.