Six Paramitas For The Wolfman
by glossolalia

1. Generosity

("The way in which we make our gift to them should be joyfully, respectfully, with a compassionate heart and without regret.")

"Gonna finish that?"

Oz pushes his tray toward Devon. Keeps reading the old National Geographic balanced on his belly, leaning against the edge of the table.

Nepal contains eight of the world's highest ten peaks. Eohippus is commonly called the dawn horse.

"You're the best, man."

Oz holds his place and looks up. "Far from it."

Chocolate pudding streaks the spoon, tracing loops as Devon waves it. "Telling you -"

"Wasn't hungry," Oz says. Straightens up, stashes the Geographic, touches his hair when he spots the redheaded Inuit.

"Gimme some of that." Spoon jabbed at the little blonde.

"Shut up."


2. Skilful Conduct

("This also has three main aspects: to refrain from negative actions, to accumulate what is positive and to help others.")

So there are monsters who die as dust, those who drive the stake home, and sometimes, apparently, they switch places.

They say the curse concerns love and perfect happiness. Oz thinks it might have more to do with her virginity, him just being a guy.

He wants to kiss Willow, can already taste citrus, already feel her lips, soft mouth, sighs hiccuping up her throat. Wants so badly a rock settles in his throat, sharp and heavy.

Tells her it'd be empty. Can't explain he might leave, soulless and mean.

Dark van, sad girl: The rock twists then, chokes him.


3. Forbearance

("By just accepting that blow, the cause of that particular suffering is removed.")

He smells Xander, sweet and sunned, so close to him in the crawlspace he could retch. Feels the dampness off his skin, hears the little gasps Xander tries to swallow, the whisper of thighs shifting in jeans.

He's never wondered why Willow kissed Xander. Boy smells, looks, tastes good. Hating Xander would be wrong. Sexist and moronic, just like hating Willow.

Disemboweling him, chewing out his throat until his muzzle drips blood: That's not hatred. Just natural.

Now he does retch. Xander touches his back. "You okay?"

Oz shakes his head. The hand he grabs, squeezes, is hot and moist.


4. Diligence

("Just as armor protects us from the sharpness of weapons, diligence protects us from the power of laziness in all its forms.")

Three weeks past the flames and he needs a new cage.

He trawls cemeteries, scrutinizing every crypt.

When he finds it, there's work to do. First he cleans with a broom, then mop. Warm water, suds that twirl and glimmer. Next he tests the bars, floor to ceiling, inch by inch. Stripped to the waist, sweating, Oz repairs each bar. Scrubs off rust, applies the blowtorch to reinforce weakness.

Asks Buffy to test again. Sits inside, knees to his chest.

Den, cage, prison: The space will change over time like light. He just has to be careful it's never breached.


5. Meditation

("Samatta is developed by cultivating an awareness, a mindfulness of everything that arises.")

He has no memory of the wolf-time.

That's what he tells the others and he usually believes it.

He dreams, however, of harmonic howls, dark, close spaces, squirming pups. And running, always running. He remembers hurling himself, hitting the bars. Jumping again. Falling back.

Veruca mocks him and he deserves it more than she could know.

Willow's scent wakes him. Before he opens his eyes, before she steps inside, he remembers everything: Tingle of sunset, heat off Veruca, fucking until it blinded him.

Later, he will remember killing her, too. Feeding, punishing, ravenous guilt. Until he fell again under the dart.


6. Prajna

("That which is form is emptiness, that which is emptiness form. The same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses, consciousness.")

Road-weary and aching, he perches on the threshold, trembling. Paws fisted in pockets, dim against the bright chatter of half-known faces.

He knows then, before he sees a glance Willow throws the blonde, before Giles removes his glasses, before Xander looms over, that he shouldn't have come.

All night with Willow, while words scrape him hoarse, hope sinks into fear, then resignation, at her empty eyes. Turned towards him, unseeing.

He faded on the doorstep; he goes transparent now. Flushes, brightens, once more when he chases the blonde. Dies again, repeatedly, on that table.

How does a ghost drive away?


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