Green-Eyed Monsters
by glossolalia

Doyle gets them kicked out of the last pub when he starts an argument with a Hungarian man about Europe's responsibility for the Irish, so now they maraud through Chinatown, Doyle's arm slung around Oz's neck.

"Come with me, young man," he shouts, "I'll show you a fine old time."

He seems to have decided that Oz is a rube, fresh off the farm, who needs a little big-city shaking up.

Oz is happy to play along; he's drunk and Doyle's cool, and he hasn't been in LA for months now.

"Countess Wanda's Discreet Massage," Doyle says as they pass a violet-painted door. "Just what you need for the best in relaxation. Not much of a talker, Wanda, but you make do. Toys for Boys, all right. All the whips and chains and silicone implements you could ever dream of." He lowers his voice, pulling Oz closer so his lips brush Oz's cheek and the stink of beer and cigarette smoke clouds Oz's eyes. "Between you and me, sometimes I think our Angel's got one of their larger plugs up his arse." Oz laughs and Doyle slaps him on the back. "Now, over there, used to be the sweetest little poker game. Real family-like place, great for the kiddies and grannies. Shame it's gone. Laundromat now, peepshows in the back --"

It must have rained while they were in one of the bars; the streets are slick and black, vibrating with stripes of neon and splashes of headlights.

Oz blinks, peering at the gated storefront he thinks Doyle waved at.

"Now, this -" Doyle stops short in front of a hole-in-the-wall bodega/video store/jewelry emporium and Oz bumps into him. Doyle's only a couple inches bigger than he is, hardly any heavier, and it feels good, somehow, after playing with Devon and hanging out with Angel, to be with someone his own size.

"What?" Oz asks. He can't tell if Doyle's admiring the used porn videos or the cheap jewelry. It could go either way.

Doyle strokes the row of rings, tinfoil and crayonbright, smiling happily to himself. "Pretty."

Like a magpie, Oz thinks. Doyle's a magpie, all quick movement, fluttering, suddenly arrested by the newest shiny thing. "Sure," Oz says. Drunk off his ass, thick with innumerable pints, his mind freefloating in foam. "Nice."

"You got a girl?"

The street is quiet, and Oz hears worlds in that question. A little sad -- Doyle did warn him he could be a maudlin drunk -- and shy. Flattened with loneliness. Doyle squints at the ring, tapping the clear chip of some industrial gem with his fingernail, then at Oz, and his face is pale as the moon. Old for a second, and very still.

"Yeah," Oz says and thinks of Willow, thinks of Veruca, redwarmth and whitegold angles, soft and sharp, human and monster. "Yeah, I've got a girl."

Doyle grins then, so drunk that his sadness might as well be in Mexico, it's so forgotten and far away. His eyes are brighter, truer, than any stone on the rings. "I'm gonna get this for your girl," he says, tightening his arm around Oz, liberating the ring from the velveteen display, and pushing inside the store. "Because a girl, a girl is like a melody, and you need to hold onto the girl, Oz, you need --. Hola, seņor."

At the counter, behind plastic scratchitti'd into opacity, an enormous Mexican glowers at them.

Doyle holds the ring up to the fluorescent light, then puts it on the counter.

"Right," he says, turning to Oz. "Um. You got a ten you could spot me?"

Doyle is pale and fast, vibrating a little all the time, his voice going constantly, and Oz keeps wanting to lean in and touch him. Brush his fingers over his long throat, or grab his hand. Feel if his heart's as fast as his hummingbird mind, skating and skimming from topic to topic, green eyes locked on yours, pleading for you to come along. So much show, costumes and bluster and jokes, hiding secrets Oz can barely suspect.

In the dark of Doyle's ratty apartment, Oz sinks drunkenly into that half-dozing, half-wakeful haze. He'd offered to take the chair, even the floor, but Doyle pushed him onto the bed. Can't have a friend of Angel's on the floor, he said. We'll share. Oz has a tattered sleeping bag over his chest, and he's fine with sharing a bed, but Doyle's lying very still. Tense, even, and Oz feels bad for him. But his thoughts are sliding as they do in the haze, and now he's thinking about rings and girls, circles of people and links of loyalty, twisting the cheap ring on his finger, wondering what Angel's going to do with his invaluable one.

"She know?" Doyle asks suddenly. "Your girl. She know about you?"

In the light from the window, Doyle's profile is silver, his mouth twisted in a frown. Oz's fingertips and mouth itch slightly with the urge to relax that tension, but he stays where he is.

"The wolf? Yeah, she knows." She. Pronouns are good, Oz realizes, nice and vague. General enough to mean Willow or Veruca. Both of them know, but the knowledge is totally different. Willow knows and ducks away from it, and she makes it cute and little. Wolfy. Veruca knows and her nostrils flare, and she wants.

"That's good," Doyle says a little later. Either he's drifting like Oz had been, or he was thinking it over. He sounds thin and sad again. "Best not to keep secrets. Especially that kind."

"Yeah," Oz says. Maybe right away, maybe much later; Doyle doesn't answer, and then the haze slips over him fully and he sleeps.

In the morning, he wakes to find Doyle curled against him, fist in his mouth, leg tangled with Oz's own. Oz lies still and brushes the sweaty bits of hair from Doyle's temple. In sleep, Doyle looks sad, his face long and eyes moving restlessly under his lids. He's really young, only five or ten years older than Oz, but right now he looks all of twelve, smooth-cheeked and sweet. There's no visible trace of the demon, but Oz can smell it, sour and bittersweet, lemon peels and drying hay and vinegar. Not human.

Monsters, Oz thinks, come in every conceivable form.

Doyle shifts onto his back, throwing his arm over his face and exposing the mat of dark curling hair on his chest.

He doesn't look twelve any more. He looks like a man, narrow-boned and sad, handsome as hell. Oz shifts carefully back, the mattress groaning. The last thing he needs is to do what he wants to right now and lean in, press his lips against the hollow of Doyle's throat and feel that hair tickle his chin. Rest his palms on that thin chest and push up the undershirt, see rosepale nipples in the hair, lick his way down ribs to navel and lower.

Last thing he needs is more complication. In Sunnydale, he's already got Willow and Veruca's closing in fast.

If Oz could lie here for the rest of his life, hide in Doyle's shitty studio, think about touching him and starting anew, he'd be happier than he can say.


He doesn't hide, of course. He can't.

He scrubs the hangover-scum from his face and borrows a shirt and plays his gig. He helps Doyle rescue Angel from Spike, then chases the poker-wielding pedophile to the pier.

He sees Angel in the sun and, just as striking, sees the way Doyle looks at him. Both of them dazed, washed with joy and baffled beyond reason. Oz shrinks in on himself a little.

"You ever need a place to crash," Doyle says when Oz is leaving, when the Gem's smashed and things are back to what passes for normal. "You come by. Best bedmate I've ever had the pleasure to know."

"You two -" Angel says, looking between them, and Oz could swear his nostrils flare as he tries to sniff it out. "You and Oz?"

"Sound surprised," Oz says quietly and Angel frowns even more.

"What, Oz?" Doyle throws his arm around Oz's shoulder and kisses his cheek with a wet smack. "Boy's too good for me. Besides, you know you're my one and only."

Angel looks down, knitting his fingers together, then back up, eyebrows drawn tightly down over his dark eyes. "No, I meant -"

"Know what you meant," Oz says and slides away from Doyle's embrace. His stomach hurts a little, emptily, and he has to swallow a couple times. "It's cool."

LA's a different country, a better one. Not for the reasons Devon lists obsessively on the drive home -- hot chicks, real Mexican food, coke that sizzles your fucking septum like Christmas morning, even hotter chicks, real music -- but because he felt like himself there. Doyle calls himself a half-breed. Everyone is one there, mongrels and monsters, and evil doesn't come into the equation.

Back in Sunnydale, as his life spirals out of his grip and Oz lies and hides and fucks up once, twice, again and again, he won't let himself think about LA. Stupid to feel homesick for some place he spent a couple nights, stupider to think he wouldn't fuck up there, too.

In the frathouse bathtub, he doesn't let himself change. He thinks of Angel blinking against the sun and Doyle laughing as he hustles pool and the sharp demon scent and little boy's face as he sleeps. He thinks of Willow happier, better off without him.

He doesn't change then, but it's only a matter of time.

In Sunnydale, things are either/or, love and hate, good and evil, and it's worse for him than any cage. Cages break, but belief gets stronger.

More than you wanted me? Willow asks in the crypt, and then, later, Don't you love me? and that's just the thing. Wanting and loving can be different. They are different, and he doesn't lie to the second question. More than anything.

Wanting and loving don't coincide, not all the time, and he's never let himself think about Doyle's chest any more than he has about Giles' hands, Devon's mouth, Veruca's ass, Buffy's breasts.

He doesn't let himself think.

He drives.


"Get me drunk," Oz says when Doyle's peered through the peephole and disguised his voice and assured himself that it's safe and undone every one of the seven deadlocks and opened the door.

"Don't have to tell me twice." Doyle shoulders his jacket and hustles Oz back downstairs.

They go to a crummier bar than the first time they were out; it's all about drinking, not so much anything -- celebration, camaraderie -- else.

Whiskey and bourbon, the cheap hard stuff that burns its trail down Oz's throat and tastes like turpentine and maple syrup. Hot, strong shit that swirls slowly in Oz's gut, sends fake heat out to his fingertips and down his shins. Doyle's voice is bright, rapid, something foreign and natural, like birdsong and flash of red wings in tropical foliage.

"Peep show," Oz says as they're winding down the sidewalk after the last last call. He tugs Doyle's arm, jerking his head in the direction of a sputtering green neon sign. "Come on."

"Oh, they've got a honey in there," Doyle says and pushes ahead of Oz. "Stacked out to here, prettiest red hair you ever saw."

Oz doesn't care, can't care, and Doyle doesn't notice. Maybe he doesn't care, either. Maybe strippers and dive bars are like the slick faux-leather of his jacket, just as artificial, just as showy.

They take the same booth -- because it's cheaper, Oz says and Doyle nods quickly, eyes narrowing in a grin -- and feed in enough quarters to keep the metal curtain up for a good long while.

Oz is hot and twisted inside, so uneasy, and he could come or puke, it would be the same relief.

The booth is chlorine-salt come and bubblegum disinfectant; Doyle is Obsession for Men, whiskey, and sweat, sour threads of demon and man. His jacket creaks as his arm moves, his eyes on the big girl behind the screen, and he murmurs to himself, to her, a constant stream of promises and wishes and hopes. Yeah, touch it, do it like that, sweet and hot, you know you like it, just touch it, little faster, come on...

Bluemilk glow from the dancer's cell, black hair and white skin of Doyle, flowing, quickening murmur from pink lips, and all the color and sound twine around Oz, simmer through him. When Doyle cuts bright jade eyes over, takes in first Oz's crotch, then his face, Oz boils.

Kindness there in Doyle's sad face, real tenderness like spring leaves and silver rain, over-through-under the skeevy booth and his schmucky outfit and rapidfire bluster.

What Oz came for, everything he doesn't deserve.

He grabs the back of Doyle's head, yanking him forward, other hand scrabbling up Doyle's dick and pulling hard. Doyle lengthens, winds around him, kissing back with teeth and noisy tongue, tugging down Oz's fly and pushing hot fingers inside.

Rough, bone-jarring, flotsam knocking together in a riptide, and Oz pulls him tighter, closer, harder. Doyle's stubble is pins in silk, rasping against Oz's face, and his hair knots around Oz's fingers. He jerks Oz roughly, irrhythmically, like he's using his weaker hand, and maybe he is; Oz just hauls him closer, inhaling drunken spit gone sweet and flat like soda and dragging his teeth down Doyle's tongue until he moans high and sharp, singing/breaking crystal.

The moan streams through Oz deeper than veins, pulling bright pain, shards of moonlight and ice, in its wake. He's coming, shivers jolting down his back, color dropping from his eyes as spines on a gray alien face bruise his cheek and his claws shred Doyle's jacket.

After hot splatter, in the wake of cold shivering clenches, they grip each other, heaving sour air and dripping sweat, and they both look human again.

Love and want aren't always so different. Oz has found another green-eyed one who speaks as quickly as sparrows fly; his hands clutch at a strong, angular body suffused by a demon. When the moon sets over black water, it slides into its own reflection, narrows to a throbbing line, and disappears.

"All right now," Doyle whispers, rubbing Oz's back, kissing his hair. "Let's get you home."


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