Pretty Rad
by glossolalia

Xander's doing penance. He's penitential. He's so fucking sorry he can't say or think any word that isn't sorry or a synonym thereof.

Not that he's Catholic or anything, but penance is a concept that works. He's got penance's back. Most of the old books they do research in are from a time when most of Europe was Catholic, so he's picked up a thing or three.

He put a rebar through Cordy's gut and made Willow cry and hurt Oz's feelings like nothing else. He better be fucking sorry.

So he's trying to do his penance.

In every way, every day, he's all over the penance. Whole new side of Xander, Man of Penance. He shows up early for library meetings, he bites his tongue when Cordy snipes at him or Giles bitches him out. He bought an apology card at LuAnn's Hallmark store and signed it and slipped it through the grill of Willow's locker. He bought another card, blank inside but with a picture of a panhandling punk on the front, and wrote sorry a hundred times inside. Put that in Oz's locker.

He brings food to the meetings even when they don't ask him to. He arrives with boxes of donuts and sacks of burgers and two-for-one pepperoni pizza specials and if they thank him, he just ducks his head and says, what I'm here for.

He volunteers first for every shit job: Supply runs, sword-sharpening and -polishing, stake-whittling (okay, he kind of likes that one, he thinks he might have a gift for whittling and regrets that he's not an Appalachian octogenarian so he could really work his talent), wolfsitting.

Wolfsitting, and he hasn't fallen asleep once. This month, he even bought a weird folding pillowy thing, kind of like a cheap futon, at Wal-Mart for Oz and Ozwolf. It seems like Oz always wakes up bare- assed on the linoleum and if nothing else, that can't be good for the poor guy's spine. Plus, wolves like dens, right? Can't hurt to make the monster feel at home.

He put it in the cage before Oz arrived last night and just shrugged when Oz nudged it with his toe and looked at him.

Oz looks a lot. Guy likes his glances, hates words. Xander's trying to work with that, pick up a little of his calm and lack of need to speak, because talking, like kissing, only seems to get him in shit these days.

He's been getting the sharp sideways look from Oz all the time. Those weirdly delicate little brows, drawn tight over big green eyes, shooting lasers at Xander.

He's pretty sure Oz can read his mind.

But, task at hand right now is wolfsitting. No sleeping on the job.

He's reading, actually; sure, it's an unauthorized bio of Stan Lee, but it does count. It's earlylate, typical Hellmouth nonhour when the sky's lightening but nothing's happening. Ozwolf curled up on his new bed about an hour ago after his usual night spent pacing and scratching and growlmuttering to himself, spiked with the always- entertaining and spine-tingling hurling of wolfbody against fragile cage.

Xander talked to him a little; even if it's not Oz in there, which he doubts, because, hello, transformation, he figures it can't hurt to apologize to the wolf, too. They're really intelligent animals.


Xander jumps a foot and a half, banging his knees on the underside of the table, at the sound of Oz's hoarse voice.

Flash of pale Oz-back as he disappears behind the towels and Xander tries to breathe.

"Hey," he says, way too late. "Sleep well? Need anything?"

Shuffle of fabric and a small but deep morning cough; Oz might not smoke cigarettes, but Xander knows he indulges in other things. Takes it toll, apparently. "Yeah. Can you get me an orange soda?"

"Um, sure," Xander says, standing. "You know there's like no vitamins in that?"

"Gotcha." Oz flips two quarters through the cage, over the towels. Xander's not sure, but his nail polish looks redder than usual.

"Have to press for diet ginger ale," Oz calls when Xander's halfway to the door. "Tricky like that."

"All over it."


All kinds of changes happen in this cage. Oz stretches again, the wolf's sensememories still prickling and tugging at his skin, the back of his mind, simple needful things like hunger, lust, escape.

It won't take Xander long to get back.

Oz has the necessary sequence down pat; he practiced this several times, just to be sure.

His nails are already painted, Beach Sunrise pink, although Oz thinks it's really, technically, closer to a dark coral. Not that he's about to argue with the good people at Maybelline.

Good color, color of blushing, color Giles's cheeks get when they've had to run for their lives. He thinks he might keep it.

No one noticed the change from his usual slate-blue or black. No one notices Oz much. It's not a bad thing.

He shaved close and careful yesterday, right before sunset, and now smears some lotion on his face and swipes the razor over his cheeks and chin to get the morning-stubble off. Rubs the extra in, then slicks Beach Sunrise over his lips and brushes a little mascara - brown, Mink Minx, black washes him out too much - on his lashes.

Easy enough, face and hands. It was the garters and stockings that gave him the most trouble at first, but now they slide up his legs like he's been doing this for years. He pulls the dress over his head, shimmies so it slips down his hips, and then there's just the medium-length wig to pull on.

He's unwrapping two sticks of Big Red to cut through potential morning breath when Xander bangs back into the library.

"Lock the doors," Oz calls. "Giles is on another kick."

"Yeah -" Squeak of Xander's Adidas, turning around, and Oz takes a deep breath. Smoothes the dress over his chest and plucks at the hang of the skirt.

Fuck but he feels pretty.


"You hungry?" Xander's calling as he rounds the counter. He lifted a ten from his mom's purse last night in case Oz wanted a diner breakfast. He's usually ravenous after the wolftime. "'Cause I -"

Oz is standing in the middle of the cage.

Kind of Oz.

In Willow's blue dress from Homecoming.

And a wig the length and color of Willow's hair. Smiling at him.

Dipping his head, hair in his face, looking up at Xander.


Oz. Kinda. Not.

But Oz all the same.

"Hey," sorta-Oz says softly.

Xander's up against the cage, fingers curling in the network, mouth opening and closing. "Um, Oz?"

"Yeah?" He's got his hands clasped in front of him and he's swaying a little, just slightly, so that the dress's hem brushes over the blue high heels.

"What -" Xander's mind, not his buddy at the best of times, is sputtering and grinding its gears worse than Uncle Rory's last fixer- upper Dodge. Oz, dress, Willow, clothes. Pretty velvet dress, sharp watchful Oz face. Fluke. Nothing makes sense.

Any minute now, there's going to be black exhaust spewing from his ears and mouth.

Oz tips his head to the side and, blinking slow and sleepy, smoothes down the front of the dress. He's got nice hands, square, with dark- pink nailpolish kind of shimmering at the ends of his long fingers. "C'mon inside?"

It sounds like a question, not anything like an order, but Xander's so attuned these days to any and every request that he's fumbling madly for the key and his fingers are slipping sweatily in his pocket and his breath is doing a ragged little foxtrot around his mouth, never actually reaching his lungs.

Oz just watches him, black lashes over green eyes.

Fumbling and dropping the keyring twice and panting and jamming in the wrong key and finally, finally, like the bumbling idiot he is, Xander's wrenching open the cage door and stepping inside. Feels like he's stepping on water or clouds, walkbouncing on the moon.

Oz kind of sweeps toward him, dress rustling, heels clicking. He's taller; duh, of course he's taller, whole point of heels. The door clicks shut and Xander backs up against it. Good cage, strong cage, you've survived eight months of hurling wolf, you can hold up one shaking penitential fool of a Xander.

"Was it really just the clothes?" Oz asks. His usual voice, soft and half-distracted. But his eyes are sharp and he's looking right at Xander.

Not through him. At him.

The dark blue velvet lies snug against Oz's collarbone, casting thin purply shadows on his whitewhite skin, wavering shadows of bruises and Xander can't back up any farther, so he just grips the cage and hangs on. Violets, he thinks wildly, like the pansies and African violets Ms. Calendar used to keep on her desk in the computer lab. That's the color the dress makes against Oz's skin.

It smells like the wolf in here, musky and thick, darkness howling, like sex, but also like lilacs. Like Willow's perfume is lacing through the air and then Oz is against him and unlatching one of Xander's hands and putting it on his waist.

Still Oz but also Will. Velvet that almost purrs under Xander's palm, then soft tight skin on Oz's narrow back. Not a girl. Oz. But also, or more, or something.

"I -" Flowers and wolf clog Xander's nose and mouth and he can't quite talk. "You -"

"Mmmm?" Oz asks and he knows, he has to, his eyes are sharp and on Xander and Xander's always kind of suspected that Oz knows everything anyway. But he's asking and Xander thinks that means he has to answer.

Only polite, right?

"Clothes," Xander says. "Fluke, with the -." When he swallows, he tastes wolf and lilac and Oz, kind of sleepy-sweaty. Light salt and dreams. His palm's rubbing itself happy back and forth over velvet, then skin. Velvet-skin, skin-velvet.

Oz steps away, turns slowly, heels clicking and skirt twirling.

Thinly muscled arms, broad wrists shaded with red hair. Narrow back, white against midnight velvet. Pansies and dead women.

Easy to forget, when Oz is all covered up, swimming in his big, loose layers, Mr. Alt-Androgynous-Rocker, that he is a guy. Built square and muscley like any guy. Just -- smaller. Slighter and finer.

But somehow, in her dress, his white hands skimming over velvet, his narrow hips twitching to silent music, Oz looks - is - more a boy than ever.

Just a really pretty one. With soft, smiling pink lips and eyes that won't leave Xander's.

Xander should clear his throat, check over his shoulder, do something cautious and well-thought-out.

Instead, he reaches out and Oz moves forward, takes his wrist, and they're moving toward each other like they do this all the time. Ballet. Steps that look effortless and lighter than helium. Hours of rehearsal, feet bleeding, gone forgotten.

Swan Lake, swan-dive, swan-song.

"Soft," Xander finally says. Brushes his palm across Oz's chest. Soft fabric, short fur whispering against his skin. And Oz's skin, soft but smooth, soapstone.

Oz, firm and hard. No breasts. Boy. Oz.

"Want you," Oz whispers. "Xander. So much."

Like the dress and stockings and lipstick, it's true and not true. It's Willow talking but out of Oz's mouth so maybe it's Oz, too, safe where he's hiding. Like in English class, when Xander was psyched beyond measure to learn about the truth of fools. In Shakespeare, where the fool that everyone laughs at or the crazy old man no one loves any more is actually telling the truth. Honesty in clowning.

"Want you," Oz says again, pulling Xander forward like they're dancing, always dancing, and even if Xander's in the position of leading, this is all Oz, arranging everything and getting pretty and guiding him around, hands on Xander's hips. "Always have."

Words wreathing around them, tightening, slipping under Xander's skin as they sway. Oz's wet lips just over the base of Xander's throat, whispering. Velvet and perfume and wolf and boy. Not Willow. Willow's words and thoughts but Oz. Oz's mouth.

"Think about you all the time. Sometimes when Oz is - when Oz kisses me there, down there, it's not him, it's you, it has to be you -"

They're kissing, Xander's hand pushing down Oz's back, down to where the bow is, Oz's pink nails in Xander's waist, on his chest, pushing up his shirt.

He tastes like cinnamon. He kisses like a boy.

Xander doesn't know how a boy kisses, but this isn't like any girl he's ever kissed, even if there's lipstick and lilacs. It's harder and hungrier; girls don't want to be sluts, don't want to let go, or so he's been told. Repeatedly; thanks, Cordy.

He groans around Oz's tongue, butting against him, yards of velvet over hard, slight body.

Oz's mouth on his neck, his ear, tightening the hold and the velvet's rubbing against Xander's chest, his shirt rucked up to his armpits. "Touch myself at night. Two fingers. Think about you."

Pictures floating fast and bright through Xander's mind: Willow, eyes closed, head thrown back on her pillow, the bump of her hand moving fast under her Laura Ashley quilt. And Oz, spiky hair, between her legs, murmuring like he's doing now into Xander's mouth, tonguing her, making her thrash.

Not a choice. Not Willow or Oz. Both.

Oz is giving him both and Xander clutches those broad, bony shoulders, pushes him down against the wall and follows, kissing Oz's throat, adam's apple, the hard knob of his collarbone. Tastes wolfmusk and that cutgrass smell Oz always carries around him that Devon's special combination of patchouli and Obsession can only dream of smelling as good as, and lilacs, lilies of the valley, dry powder and sweet handlotion. Tastes it all and Oz wraps his arm around Xander's head, holds him there, rippling like velvet and nightwinds underneath him, murmuring.

"Want you to be my first. You are my first. Always my first."

That's Willow, that's got to be Willow, and Xander groans against Oz's throat before pushing up and away, yanking his shirt off over his head. Oz reaches for him again, lipstick all smeared, sweat cutting whorls and tendrils through the powder on his face, and his nails are pink and bitten-down. Boy's hand, square and strong, even if the skin's softer than anything.

"Xander," pseudo-Willow, almost-Oz, whispers. "Talk to me. Be my first?"

White hand, pink nails on the fly of his khakis, touch as light as a voice, barely there so you listen all the harder.

"Want you," Xander says. Second-person singular and plural, you works for both. It's multipurpose. And Miss Barton would be really fucking surprised that Xander's remembering his grammar as well as his Shakespearean details.

Not half as surprised as Xander.

"Want you, fuck, so much -" he says again and Oz nods. They're both pretending, both truth-telling. Xander feels drunk and dizzy, trying to figure it out.

Oz nods again and Xander stops bothering to figure it out. Just like that, pink curving smile and a little nod, green eyes softened by long dark lashes, Oz flips open the button on Xander's fly and tugs down the zipper.

Lilacs sprouting fast and thick underneath Xander's skin, overpowering scent, the speed of those creepy nature films that show an entire life-cycle in a minute and a half.

Not just Willow's first.

"Wait -" Xander says. "Wait, wait -"

He shifts forward on his knees, guiding Oz onto his back, running his palms down over hard narrow thighs beneath the velvet, then pushing the skirt up and up. Oz's pale skin, glimmering under blue stockings like something underwater at night and now Xander's got that damn REM song in his head as he leans forward to taste silk and skin.

Garters and ropy muscle dusted with hair like cinnamon and Oz shivers under Xander's mouth, winds his fingers through the back of Xander's hair and tilts up his hips. Rocks up and down, just like a girl.

Just like a girl. When Oz kisses me there and Xander's not just penitential, he's hard as fuck and he wants to make this good. Not just a fluke, or the kind of fluke you go with and make the most of, make it more than a fluke.

He drags teeth and tongue up the tendon standing out thin and strong on the side of Oz's knee, and the stocking catches, ladders, under his incisors, and then he's on bare skin and Oz is waving like a banner, like kelp in the current, and Xander pushes the skirt all the way up to his waist.

Dark blue panties, silk, high-cut over Oz's thin hard thighs, and, fuck. The bulge under the tight silk, stretching the fabric. Obscene.

Not like a girl. But almost, almost, both and neither and better.

Xander hooks his thumb in the waistband and Oz lifts up his hips and helps him take off the panties and Xander has to close his eyes. Literal, so literal, Oz's hard dick there, jutting out.

"Kisses you down here," Xander mutters and has to swallow, his throat thick with slow cascades of honey. Nectar. Something sweet and pulsing and so thick.

"Yeah, right there, right there -" And Oz is rippling, waving, under his tongue, knee up to his chest, his other leg over Xander's shoulder and everything's so new it might as well be another planet as Oz spreads and spreads for him, for Xander's tongue, and he's gasping and choking on little panting whines deep in his throat as Xander licks down his crack.

Tastes like sweat here, like sweat and sleep and hot steamy showers. Like the wolf, like a boy, and then Oz squeals as Xander kisses around his little hole.

Pretty much the same idea, right? Even if it tastes totally different. Cordy taught him well, taught him how to tease the hole, run his tongue around one way, then the other, clockwise, counter, little pushes and pulses into the center until her thighs were clamped over his ears vise-tight and all he could hear was his own pulse and the tides of his spit and slide of his tongue. Just like that, like this, Oz gripping Xander's neck with his legs, his whines and gasps both galactically distant and right under Xander's own skin.

Oz, squeezing him tighter and harder, his hips so far off the floor he's like an acrobat or an astronaut in zero gravity, and Xander's holding him up, fist bunched in velvet, his knees aching on the linoleum. His dick still caught, hard and complaining, inside his briefs even though his pants are slipping down his thighs.

Oz's muscles are trembling everywhere, under Xander's tongue, against his cheeks and under his hands. Little shakes all over, tiny twitches, so many of them, and Xander thinks he might be groaning, too, all this reaction, all these weird drunken swirlings in his mind - Willow and Cordy and velvet and Oz, Oz with a cock and a dress, wolf and perfume - and he has to pull away because his dick's pulsing angry maroon, down the center and behind his eyes.

"Do it, Xander, do it -" Oz is gasping and ordering and pleading and Xander nods, mouth dry and face sweaty. He pulls Oz up, onto his knees, against him and they're kissing again, his tongue pushing hard into Oz's mouth, roving and seeking and they're rubbing against each other as they shuffle and scramble and fumble for the flippy bed.

He presses Oz down, on his back again, the dress askew and wrinkled and beautiful, Oz's eyes sharp brilliant green and his cheeks the color of spankings and fresh blood, Angel right after he feeds. Oz reaches, one hand for Xander, the other to the side, blind, but then he touches Xander's hand and a bottle of moisturizer with the other.

"Show me," Xander says, closing Oz's hands around the bottle. "Two fingers. Show me."

He shouldn't be allowed to ask for anything. He's the one in the wrong, he's doing penance, he's sorry. But Oz just smiles and kisses him again before slicking up his hands and Xander pushes the skirt up to his waist, bluewhite legs and midnight velvet, and then Oz is touching himself, spiralling pinktipped fingers around his hole, pushing them carefully in, then faster, rocking against his hand and Xander shoves his own hand down his briefs, wraps it around the base of his dick and pulls and squeezes. Needs to last, but this is mindblowing, this is Hiroshima and white light and mint VHS dubs of City on Fire and Amy Yip's private webcam footage. Tiny hole, pink on white, and guitarist fingers, two of them, inside, moving, slicking, stretching.

Oz is talking to him. The words flash by Xander, leaving white and pink and violet streaks in their wake. Words like fuck and jerk off and want you and pussy and dick, growled through honey, sweet and harsh. Xander's blinking, trying not to pull himself off, feeling need and sparkling effervescent want billowing through him, sticking and gathering and doubling in the small of his back and base of his balls.

Then Oz is still. Lying on his back, the dress pulled down to midthigh, hair trailing over his face, boygirl, prettier than either. Reaching for him.

And Xander hears him this time: "Fuck me, Xander. Fuck me."

He fits on top of Oz; that's maybe the weirdest thing in this entire morning of bizarro marvels. He shouldn't, he's so much bigger, but Oz kind of shifts and wraps his legs and his arms around Xander and they're kissing and they really are about to fuck.

Xander's got one thing to do. He knows it in the center of his hands and pit of his gut and all over his brain, like he knows the best angle for whittling and how to corkscrew his tongue just right and exactly when to apologize again.

He reaches up, trailing knuckles over Oz's soft skin, sharp cheekbone, and pulls the wig off.

Oz. Wants Oz. In a dress, fucked like a girl, but Oz. Oz. Matted curling hair that stands up when Xander pushes his hand through it and Oz is kissing his neck again, high up, just under his ear. Oz.

Oz tilts back and up, open, spreading, and Xander's hand shakes as he touches his cock again, lines it up, and then Oz's throat is stretching out, his face and hair hidden. His moan streaming out open pink mouth, over red seeking tongue, as Xander pushes inside. Slow, so slow, and it's tighter than any fantasy he's ever managed to work up. Slick skin, wet from the lotion, and hot.

He thinks: My fist is never going to be enough again. Never.

Because nothing's like this. Nothing is this tight and sunhot, nothing sends constellations and fireworks wheeling through him and past his eyes, nothing feels and sounds and tastes like Oz. Velvet and lipstick and bluestockinged feet drumming against Xander's own ass and pink nails raking his arms, digging into his wrists.

He's fucking, the velvet dragging up and down his skin and Oz's mouth fastened leechtight on his shoulder and they're fucking. I'm fucking, Xander thinks, I'm having sex, and then he's not thinking any more. Because Oz is rocking and rippling and swaying underneath him and the little flippy bed is nowhere near wide enough for this and it's sliding across the floor and Oz is fucking him back, twisting his hips like Cordy does - did - when she was about to come in his mouth, jerking to the side and Xander's chasing him, leading with tongue and dick. And the bubbles of need are shattering like roses dipped in dry ice, like dishwater bubbles blown in Fargo, North Dakota in the dead of winter, and it's the sweetest sound and feeling Xander's ever had. Like crystal, singing as it breaks, and his dick's inflating and pulsing as he pushes his hand between them.

Almost too late, but he grabs Oz's cock and pulls and talks to him and they're crashing together, then apart, and he's never touched someone else's cock, let alone with his left hand, so the skin on his palm is singing in joy and confusion at the hot hardness and then he's coming. Coming, and bucking back, almost overbalancing, the orgasm blinding him more and more, again and again, pushing into Oz's bony little hips hard enough to break and bruise, and he's yanking Oz up by the root of his dick. Begging and pleading and bringing him with him.

When Oz comes, he freezes everywhere except for the head of his cock. Fallen wavy spikes plastered to his forehead, eyes wide and greenblack, mouth twisted pinkredblack, dress in shambles.

His come spatters the dress, Xander's hand, one garter. Whiter than his skin, even.

Xander's own come is deep and secret and hidden.

Then he falls and Oz falls and they're collapsed, half-on, half-off the fake futon, breathing hard and helpless like the first fish to crawl up out of the water, the deformed ones who took a wrong turn and had no idea that someday they'd be mammals, with hair and paws, let alone humans with velvet and nailpolish.

Kind of funny, when he thinks about it like that.

Xander's laughing and he hasn't laughed since they started planning that fucking double date to the bowling alley. It hurts, like smashing open watermelons. Hurts and feels good.

Still laughing, still trying to remember how to breathe, he starts kissing Oz.


Xander likes to kiss. Oz can get behind that.

He's got a whole sequence of tasting and sucking and nibbling that's as intricate as any Sonic Youth chord change, and he cradles Oz's head, his real head, not the wig, in one big warm hand, thumb sweeping like windshield wipers over Oz's ear and jaw.

He likes to talk, too, which Oz already knew, so he should have guessed that Xander would try to talk while kissing. It's all murmurs and sighs that top off the kiss, make everything shivery, squirmy, resonant. It's pretty rad.

As long as he's not saying sorry, Oz wouldn't mind if he talked all day long.

"Look really pretty," Xander whispers when they break for breath. He rubs the meat of his thumb over Oz's aching, swollen lower lip and the heel of his other hand over the side of the dress. He pinches one of the straps and massages the fabric. "How'd you-?"

"Do her drycleaning. Used to," Oz whispers back, then kisses the side of Xander's mouth. "Not so bad yourself, you know."

Xander ducks his head, looking down, and Oz kisses the center of his forehead.

"Next time," Oz continues, kissing the intricate curve of Xander's ear. "I'm thinking schoolgirl kilt and ripped fishnets."

"That," Xander agrees. "Or, check this. Tweed coat, glasses, khaki trousers. Silk tie. I'll call you sir and do your bidding."

"Genius. Brilliant."

"Nah." Xander pets Oz's hair, spikes it up, presses his mouth against one of his temples.

Oz nods and tugs Xander's arm over his wist. "Yeah. Bloody brilliant."

Laughter, red neon and lava lamps, glows and swirls out of Xander. "Work on your accent."



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