Disclaimer: I do not own Buffy or The X-men.
It all started with a gentle kiss from the wind itself.
He was loping through the twilight. The beast scented prey. Oh the joy of the hunt. The feel of fresh blood in its teeth, while deep down knowing that it was not human. Also there was the thankfulness that he’d yet again avoided killing someone.
Then he sensed her. Cocking his head, he looked up. He watched. She looked down. A breeze came up, and ruffled his fur. Then she flew away.
Oz sat up from his bed in the van. The memory was still as strong as it was before. He shook his head, and went to the drivers seat. He didn’t have many more miles to go till he reached New York.
- - - - - - -
It was a busy day at the coffee shop. Baldy, as he was affectionately known by many customers, was serving. It was Christmas week, and things were hectic. A short man with a slightly wild look came in and walked up to the counter.
“Can I help you?”
“Do you have any work?”
Baldy looked him up and down. “I do, but I don’t have much time to deal with applications and interviews. Do you know how to make the things on the menu? If so, I’ll take the orders and run the register. It’ll cut down on time.”
Oz shrugged. “I’ve done it before.”
“Walk into the kitchen, turn right, there’re spare uniform shirts. Pick one up and get out here.”
Oz did what he was asked to, then came back to the front. It was tiring work.
He stretched during a lull.
Baldy gestured. “Start cutting up the lettuce, etc. We’re running low, and need to be ready for the dinner crowd.”
Oz nodded. Then he caught a strangely familiar scent.
- - - - - -
Storm walked into the coffee house she and Jean went to occasionally. As they walked up to the counter, Storm noticed a man making sandwiches. Then Baldy came up.
Storm smiled. “New employee?”
“I don’t know yet, but so far he’s working out. So what would you like?”
Storm looked at the menu for a second. “Chai on ice for me.”
Jean spoke up. “Earl Gray.”
They went and sat down near the window facing the street.
Jean looked back at Oz. “Something seems off about him…”
“Oh?” Storm stared too. Then looked around to make sure nobody was nearby. “Mutant?”
“Maybe. He’s giving off a weird vibe.”
“No… whatever it is, he’s not a threat. But he is sad. I think I’ll contact Charles to see what he thinks.”
“Professor, there’s a possible mutant working here at the shop. I just can’t tell.”
“I’ll find out. Be careful.”
“I’m not getting any sense of danger from him.”
“Understood. Do you want Logan or Scott to come by”
“I don’t think so… but if you think it’s necessary…”
“I’ll see. Enjoy your day.”
- - - - -
Oz felt the brush of a mind on his. He didn’t feel any danger to it though. “Hello whoever this is.”
Oz smiled as he felt the presence withdraw, then continued to make sandwiches.
- - - - - -
“That was… interesting to say the least.”
“He’s experienced mind to mind contact before… and isn’t bothered. He greeted me then continued what he was doing.”
“I got the same impression you did… my best guess is that you should introduce yourselves. Also, I think he might have recognized Storm. However, the method he used is unorthodox.”
Storm stared at Jean through it all. “Well?”
Jean shrugged. “He’s not a danger. The Professor said we should talk to him. He also said that this person recognizes you.”
Storm raised an eyebrow.
- - - - - - -
Oz watched from the corner of his eye as one of the two women he’d seen earlier walked over to talk to Baldy. His hearing was that of a wolf… it was one of the few things that stuck with him between transformations.
Storm came up to Baldy. “Can you spare your new employee for a few minutes?”
“Well, just for you… anyone else and I’d be upset.”
“Don’t let anyone know, it’d ruin my rep.” Baldy said, grinning as he turned toward Oz. “This lady wants to talk to you. If you’re worried, I’ve known her for a couple of years.”
Oz wiped his hands with a towel as he nodded his head. “Where?”
“Our table will be fine.”
He nodded and walked out from behind the counter. When he got to the table, he turned a chair around backwards and sat down with his arms crossed on the top. Then he smiled.
“Your friend was gentle in touching my mind.”
“So you know…”
Oz shook his head. “I only know that he did.”
Jean shrugged at Storm.
Storm smiled slightly. “I’m Ororo Munroe. This is Jean Grey. The man who contacted you is our professor at a school we teach at.”
Oz remained still. “Ok.”
“It’s for gifted students… ones with special abilities.”
Oz sighed. “I’m not one.” Then he smiled humorously. “Though it would be easier if I was.”
Storm stared at him. “What makes you sure you’re not?”
Oz shook his head. “I don’t do long explanations.”
“Do a short one.”
“I’m a werewolf.”
Storm smiled. “We have a mutant with that ability.”
“Maybe so, but is it transmittable to others through a bite?”
Jean frowned. “No… mutations aren’t transmittable.”
“Like I said, I’m not a mutant.” Then Oz sniffed at Storm for a second.
She raised her eyebrow.
“I thought so… a couple of years back I was in my wolf form on a trail, and caught a scent. It’s one of the rare occasions that I remember during that form. You were floating in the sky, and you rubbed my head with the wind.”
Storm blinked. “I forgot that day.”
Oz shrugged. “I make it a point to keep remembering those rare occasions… but this one struck me more often than the others. It’s the only time I’ve felt a true peace.”
Jean smiled. “Maybe you just don’t have control…”
He interrupted. “Does the one you were talking about transform at will?”
”Did she figure out how herself, before you met her?”
”I’ve been a werewolf for a while… I have yet to be able to transform without the full moon. And I never initiate it. On the contrary, I fight it to the point of extreme pain. And will continue, until I figure out how to stop it all together…. Or at least be in full control after I’ve transformed. This has hurt my friends, and broke my heart.”
He sighed, and stood up. “It’s getting busy.” He walked back to the counter and started helping Baldy again.
Jean and Storm stared at each other, then walked out of the store.
Baldy looked at Oz. “I hope you’re staying around for awhile.”
“Yep. I’ll even advance you a little. One thing.”
”Don’t let her go. She’s a keeper.”
Oz shrugged and kept his thoughts to himself.
They went back to serving the customers.
- - - - - - - -
Charles felt Jean and Ororo’s minds as they came in.
“Come to my office.”
When they walked in and sat down, they looked at Xavier.
“How did it go.”
Jean spoke. “He’s bitter… and doesn’t seem to think he’s a mutant, though he knows his abilities.”
Ororo shook her head. “He’s quiet, contained, and intense.”
Xavier raised an eyebrow.
Ororo sighed. “Ok, so he’s interesting.”
Jean laughed slightly.
Xavier shook his head. “He’s not a mutant.”
Ororo and Jean blinked. “What?”
“He is a werewolf… I’ve touched one before, so I recognized the patterns. You needed to hear from him first however.”
“So, he probably needs a place to stay. And maybe we can help him too even if he isn’t a mutant. He does seem to have at least one ability when he’s not transformed. His smell.”
Oz continued to work, unaware that an ages old term had once more been applied to his life. “May you live in interesting times.”
(I can’t remember the fantasy book that I got that phrase from.)