Title: Christmas Traditions and Watchers
Author: Jo [KarmicDuck]
Pairing: Oz/Remus [post Sunnydale demise/post Voldemort war]
Dedication: Hey Emma! I hope you enjoy this. I tried really hard and I think I went waaay in left field for this one. I hope it works out.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters. Please don't sue me. I'm in the red, not the black. It wouldn't be worth your time.
They had met in a shabby bar outside London. One had been on a mission to find a compromise of both his halves and the other man running from his past. One had ordered a tequila shot and the other something called firewhiskey. Both knew the full moon was less than a week away. Instincts with in them thrummed that the other was a werewolf but only one sensed it more keenly than the other. Attitudes had started to change into a more broodier nature.
They talked casually to each other. One knowing he was talking to the other not as a stranger but as a teacher. The other just talking to a stranger since he had no home to go home to just yet. His home had been destroyed. The other man – older than the streaked haired one – knew all of what they were discussing beforehand but could not admit it. He had been sent to help the young man. His own mentor had suggested the younger man would need a teacher for he was as lost as the other had been before, all those years ago.
It was early evening before the full moon. Oz had locked himself up in chains once again. An expert at chaining himself since losing Willow’s help, he had learnt quickly how to make it easier.
Across town Remus was chaining himself up as well. Resigned to his fate, he waited for the sun to full set. He knew he needed to tell the younger man named Oz ways to control his animalistic instincts. Perhaps he was not the right person to teach. However, Dumbledore had thought he was so it must be true. Dumbledore failed him so seldom. Maybe he just could not see the larger mission from this close view.
Four days later, Remus called Oz to set up a meeting. Dumbledore had said there was a group called the Watchers that watched a few selected women that might rise to become the Slayer and some lineage called Immortals. They – the Watchers – seemed to be separate in their jobs. One taught and watched while the other had been known to kill those they watched. He hadn’t heard of this group before but that was not unusual. To his knowledge there was no group for his kind. Besides, there was the fact that the magick world was not black and white any longer. It was mixed together to create shades of grey, no longer pure. The Dark Lord had seen to that.
Oz waited at the bar. He wasn’t sure what the man – Remus, he had learnt – wanted from him. He hadn’t recalled giving away the motel number but after fifth shot last time, there was no telling what he did. Musing over what he had actually said, he missed Remus sitting down beside him.
“Hello Oz.” The name sounded different on the man’s tongue - less harsh and more fluid.
“Hey.” Oz was a little unsettled over why the man was here.
“I guess you are wondering why I’m here?” Remus sounded as uncertain as he was himself. It didn’t make him feel any more confident in this guy’s presence.
“Yeah.” He motioned to the bartender for a beer. He knew was safe in a public place.
“I’m a werewolf.” Whispering the fact so low that no one without super hearing could catch it, he anxiously waited for Oz’s response.
“Oh.” It was Oz could say. The only other werewolf he had known was dead by his own wolfy teeth.
“And so are you.” That simple statement affected Oz because he knew hadn’t told anyone that. After the hunter had come for him, he learnt that being honest with that wasn’t smart. Oz didn’t let his surprise show though. Trick of the trade so to speak.
“Yeah, I am. How do you know that?” He knew who all knew that secret and was starting a list of whom to ream when Remus responded with “my mentor and friend told me.” Oz gave Remus an odd look.
“To be precise, he found out you were in London and informed me. Some people had told him he knows that you were on a quest to know about yourself. He suggested I help you since I am quite sure you have noticed the dislike of those of our kind.” Taking a sip of tea the bartender had brought him; he waited for all this to sink into the young man’s head.
A few minutes later, Oz was still thinking. Careful with his word choice, he started speaking. “I grew up on the Hellmouth – formerly Sunnydale, California. When I was informed of all the supernatural things, it made sense right away. It’s amazing what people will listen and believe. I knew a girl, the Slayer actually, and her Watcher. Is that what you’re getting at? To be my Watcher?”
“Essentially? Yes, that is what I am offering. It won’t be easy. I did it alone and that was hard enough so at least you’ll have someone to help you.” Glanced down at his tattering clothes as proof. Oz understood. He remembered when he had to give up his guitar to pay for his motel room. It still hurt that he didn’t have his guitar, a lifeline for him.
“I understand hardship. I’ve always done what I needed too.” And he had. No one could say he didn’t. As a Scooby he had helped more often than not. He couldn’t even say all the ways he had since he had gotten out of his cage while in werewolf form.
“So shall I tell Dumbledore you accept the offer?” Remus was looking apprehensive, as if the idea still slightly bothered him.
“I suppose. Who is Dumbledore?” All he knew about England had come from Giles or what he had picked up in the last month.
“Headmaster at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry; also part of the Order of Phoenix, group that was the Dark Lord’s downfall – twice.
“A man that wanted only pure bloods to live. Muggle-born people - like you – would have to be eliminated immediately. He would very much resemble the Muggle Hitler. Pure race only. That kind of wrongness.”
“Oh, we only had the Master. Of course we had the Mayor, professors in charge of secret military operations on demons – self included, rogue Slayers. Had a vampire in our group; witch, Slayer, werewolf and Prom Queen too. Now that was someone scary.”
“The vampire?” Remus was curious about what would frighten the werewolf inside Oz over a vampire.
“Oh. No. The Prom Queen. Cordelia could be frightening when she let her inner Prom Queen out.” Oz’s face expressed amusement, as a Prom Queen didn’t register on the other man’s face. “Prom Queen, queen of a dance held once a year after graduation.”
“You experienced all this in your life?”
“Nope, only when I started dating the witch. She was barely one at the time but she grew pretty powerful. Re-souled said vamp.” Oz shook his head at Remus’s look of confusion. “I’ll explain one day.”
“Well, if you’ve done all this…” Remus’s face looked slightly disappointed. “You certainly don’t need a mentor.”
“Done a lot but still need some help with the wolf inside me.” Oz grinned at the lame sentence.
“Well, if you want…” They ended up mentor and teacher.
The months passed and without noticing it had turned to the holiday season. Oz’s lessons had been going wonderfully. He was starting to finish up the basics. After that, it depended on the breed of werewolf to determine past that. The knowledge had loneliness once again creeping into his soul. Dumbledore had spilt the rest of the plan of helping Oz. He noticed how the elder werewolf had been feeling left out without the Order needing him so often. He thought that ability to another soul would make him feel useful and help heal the whole Sirius had left.
Oz had moved in during the fall - about three months after they met – to make training sessions easier. Oh Christmas Eve, they decorated the flat Giles managed to snatch for them.
The decorated tabletop tree was a bit different than most. Instead of Christmas ornaments, it was decorated with old alcohol bottles. Remus had reduced the sizes so the ornaments fit perfectly. On the back, Oz slipped a small Scooby ornament to remember his friends. Being with Remus had reminded him that family mattered and you shouldn’t run from it. Granted he still only talked to Giles at the moment but something was better than nothing.
Remus’s friends – the Weasleys', Harry and Hermione among a few - had treated him as if he were family. It had brought back some forgotten memories.
Seeing the look he coined “Too Much Brooding,” or TMB for short, Remus brought Oz out of it. “I bet I’ve had the worse Christmas ever.” He was not sure the tactic would work, but it was worth the effort.
“No way.” Blinking, Remus wondered when he had started talking like his pupil.
“Hellmouth, circa 1999. The First Evil tries to have Angel kill people – specifically Buffy – so he would kill himself. It was a nice way to get rid of Angel, the First’s pain at the moment. Didn’t work though since Buffy said him. Snowed too, as in flakes that stuck. It was weird in a place near L.A.” Sniffing the air, he could smell the storm that was on its way. neat trick that Remus had taught him, to predict weather when not in danger.
“Alone, for nearly ten years. Boyfriend of sorts is in prison for murdering not one but two of the Marauders. So I had lost not only Harry’s father – James – but also Peter. So said boyfriend of sorts is in jail for killing one when he didn’t and for betraying another, which he didn’t. No family past that. The only people I had considered family were the Potters’ and they were gone.” A look that resembled triumph settled on Remus’s face.
“Hellmouth, 1989. Just turned nine. Dad leaves us. Takes Christmas tree with him. Left us with just a TV dinner to split between Mom and me.” Remus’s face dropped and Oz knew he had won.
“I lost that round. How about old flames? Boyfriend in jail, escapes so he’s a fugitive, runs to Harry to protect him and dies two years later.” Raising his wand, he curls the garland around the banister.
“I killed a werewolf because she threatened my girlfriend. I leave to work through my issues and I come back to find she’s moved on. With a girl.”
“Ow. Bruises one’s ego I’m sure.”
“Yeah. It didn’t feel warm and fuzzy. It’s why I left again and ended up here, eventually anyway.”
“Yeah, Giles advised me to come to Europe again. Good thing too since after the death of Willow’s girl she tried to cause an apocalypse. It wasn’t pretty from what I’m told.”
“Ah, the Watcher.” It suddenly dawned on Remus that he was starting to get all these people straight without having seen them. Shaking his head, he also figured he was learning more about the boy than perhaps he should be.
Nodding, Oz finished the last of the decorations. Flat finished so it was time for bed. Tomorrow would noisy with everyone meeting at the Burrow.
After the visit was over, both men were exhausted. A quick exchange of presents – a book about werewolves for Oz and a book all about Sunnydale for Remus – both went to their beds. Each lay awake thinking of the other but of course they did not know that. Oz wondered what was happening between them. It felt familiar, like something he had experienced before.
Remus was in his bed wondering the same thing except the realization happened a bit sooner which lead to the wonderings of how long he would have to wait. He was not going anywhere so time was irrelevant. He just was not going to miss another chance at having someone in his life. He had learnt that feeling the hard way.
A year later meant another tree. This time Scooby decorations filled the tree. The living room/dean was decorated in gold and maroon, colors that signified both their pasts. Werewolves in love. Who knew?