Pulling up to the gates, Oz breathed a sigh of relief. He’d never in his life been so happy to be home and he’d had a lot of homecomings over the years. And, much to his surprise, it wasn’t the newborn or the little girl that caused the most trouble. That would be the UST and sibling snarking. All of their words had sharp edges and hidden meanings and he couldn’t wait to get them out of his van. He didn’t think Dennis was very happy with them, either.
As he parked, he noticed how still Aisha had gotten while everybody else fidgeted. Oz patted the dash, choosing to ignore the nerves of those around him. “Dennis, we’re home.”
The beads hanging from his mirror jangled together merrily then a young man corporealized in front of the van, turning to wave with a grin before walking up the steps and through the building.
“Oh my God,” Jensen said faintly.
“Welcome to the Council,” Oz said with a tiny smirk, then swung out of the van.
The front door slammed open and Oz grinned as Dawn flung herself down the stairs and into his arms, squealing.
“You made it!” she said with a little bounce.
“Said I would,” he murmured, squeezing her tight.
Giles had carefully told him about the Key and the extra memories the first time he’d showed up at the Council. Oz had spent 30 minutes with her and decided it didn’t matter. They were his memories now and Dawn was the same as she’d always been. He firmly believed that if he wasn’t supposed to care about her, those monks wouldn’t have wasted energy fiddling with his memory.
He pulled back as the van door slid open. He kept his arms wrapped around her as everyone piled out. “Dawn, the Losers,” he said, indicating the motley crew in front of them. “Losers, Dawn.”
He raised a warning eyebrow at them as Dawn waved distractedly. “Oz, it’s a tiny human,” she whispered, loud enough for everyone to hear. She held out a finger for the baby to grab and he burbled happily. She was instantly smitten. “Hi, tiny human.”
“That’s my boy,” Pooch said, smiling as his son wrapped dawn around his fingers. “Already a lady’s man.”
And just like that, as Dawn shot Pooch a dazzling smile, and Jensen launched into a story that his sister rebutted at every turn while Clay and Aisha smoldered at each other in the background, Oz could see these people, broken pieces of a once solid unit, begin to mend. They just needed a safe place to rest and recalibrate for a while and he couldn’t think of a safer place than the Council.