Not Too Manly To Hug This Time
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The portkey dropped Oz off on a deserted strip of beach in Thailand not too terribly far from Bangkok - just like the pretty little girl from the transportation department from the Ministry had assured him it would when she had come by the Council with said approved portkey. Oz could see a few people nearby in a hut grouping. It looked like a very small village was here.
Suddenly someone was shouting at him in what he suspected was Thai, which made sense with him being in Thailand. Oz held up his hands and made no sudden moves. There was a pop next to him and a woman he did not recognize was standing there in English-style wizard robes. She said something to the man in his language that had approached Oz shouting that seemed to instantly calm him. Then she looked at Oz.
“Who are you looking for?”
“Xander Harris,” Oz replied, just looking at her.
He had no clue who she was. Her dark hair was braided and wrapped into a bun. Her eyes were this caramel color, and her skin had a nice olive tone.
The guy from the hut village said something and the woman nodded. “He’s going to get the strange white
“Kylia from transportation owled me. She said she didn’t think you knew Siamese. I do. She felt I could be of assistance. She seemed rather distressed that your unannounced arrival would somehow upset Kamon and his family.”
“And you are?”
“Oh right. Sorry. I’m Padma Patil.”
Oz looked up to see Xander, who had a beard and the shaggiest hair Oz had ever seen on him, walking towards them. He was wearing baggy pants and that was it. No shirt and no shoes, but then again the weather in Thailand was currently rainy but in the mid to high 80s. He padded across the sand and grabbed Oz in a tight hug. Then he hugged Padma Patil.
“I don’t know you,” Xander said. “This is awkward. Why do I always do that?”
She stepped back and frowned at Xander in a way that led Oz to believe she understood why the villager had called him the strange white.
“Living in a hut, Xand?”
“And hugging strange women without my shirt on apparently.”
Oz’s mouth twitched in a slight grin. Some things didn’t change.
Xander shrugged. “It’s where I found Sarakit. She’s the newest. Usually they just send a slayer to pick the noobs up. Not that I’m complaining about an Oz visit.”
“Um...” Oz looked at Padma Patil. “Can we talk somewhere private, Xander?”
Padma Patil had indicated that she worked for the Ministry, and Oz thought them not
knowing Willow had almost gone nuclear again was of the good.
Xander nodded his head towards the huts.
“So I suppose I’ll just wait right here,” Padma Patil said.
“Who’s she?” Xander asked.
“She said her name was Padma Patil.”
Xander gave Oz a look. “You don’t know her?”
“Not so much.”
“Yeah, you wait here,” Xander said as he walked off.
Oz smiled tightly at Padma Patil then hurried off after his friend who was walking quickly and had much longer legs. The witch didn’t look too pleased, but Oz didn’t care right now. What was going on in Wiltshire was more important than not ruffling the feathers of someone he didn’t even know.
When they were a safe distance from the ministry employee, Xander turned to Oz. “So what’s the what?”
“Willow needs you,” Oz said.
“Oz, man, look, last time I talked to her I told her that-”
“She had a meltdown, Xander. She needs you,” Oz said evenly.
Oz just gave him a look.
“Sarakit and I can be ready to go in one hour. There’s supposed to be another girl traveling down through China. Sam Zabuto located her. Kamon can keep her here until we can get someone to fetch her, I think. I just need to speak with him,” Xander said. Then he looked down and his shirtless chest. “It’s cold in England right now, huh? I should find a shirt.”
Oz just looked at him and grinned slightly. Xander might have been putting his head in the sand as far as Anya was concerned, but he would always be a good friend to Willow. That was never going to change, and Oz liked that about him.