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With a Final, Backwards Glance at Eurydice

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"I've never seen you lose your temper like that," Giles says. He reaches out and picks up Oz's hand, feeling the shift of bone under the supple skin. The roughened redness across the knuckles, the soft swelling of abused, bruised flesh call to him on too many levels for him to resist the compulsion to touch.

"Well, y'know – Willow. She was crying –"

Giles shakes his head, letting his fingers explore the dips and hollows of the back of Oz's hand in a soft skim of touch that's first cousin to a caress.

"You were hitting Xander out of duty, no more." Giles drops Oz's hand and reaches for the well-stocked box of first aid supplies. "You forget that I've seen you when you're really angry." He lets his gaze drift to the corner of the library where Xander had lain sprawled against the shelves. "This was an... artificial anger."

"Bet Xander's face doesn't care," Oz says bluntly.

"True." Giles is still too close to the raw emotion Xander's confession had bred in him to want to dwell on it.

He glances down and sees that Oz's hand has tightened, curled; sharp bones pointing upwards.

The forming of a fist has broken open the fragile seal of dried blood and fresh, darkly-bright beads are pushing to the surface, globules that burst like bitten-on blackberries.

It's the Watcher, not the wolf who tastes them.

Giles' tongue laves and laps and licks as Oz stills and stares, surrendering through silence, capitulating, allowing, permitting –

It's not enough.

Giles lunges forward, fierce kiss, stained tongue thrusting past startled-open lips. Oz's untouched hand comes up to grip at his shoulder and pull him closer -

Now that's enough.

Giles breaks free and wipes his mouth with a swipe of sleeve.

"Are you going to fuck me?" Oz asks, letting Giles see him glance at the office, at the desk...

"I told you I wouldn't. Not again," Giles says, knowing he doesn't have to ask, knowing Oz won't make him beg, knowing he's splitting hairs, paring them onion-skin thin because what's going to follow that glance makes him a liar.

Oz stands, neat, quiet movements that do what he wants them to, no more, no less, so Giles sometimes longs to see him wasteful, lavish, extravagant and nods towards the office.

And perhaps Oz is when he's climaxing, body over-run with the compulsion to come, but Giles never looks behind him, so he wouldn't know.

Still leaves part of him in hell every time, though.

Every time.

And this is the last time.

It really is.