No River Like Craving
by Tesla

A long odd evening, and Oz felt like the atoms in his body were jostling in some unusually random pattern. He couldn't settle down after the out-of-town gig, and drove the van in a tense posture, with Devon blissfully humming beside him in the passenger seat, tapping out beats with the drumsticks, on his legs and the dashboard.

It was like the wolf was howling through Oz's skin, but that was wrong, the wolf was 24 days away. It was like drinking shots of cheap stuff, the burning in his eyes.

It was anger. Burned like bad chili dogs, under his breast bone. Shook him, to feel it.

He was mad at Willow, but angrier at himself. He felt like he had trusted her too much and been betrayed, and then he felt like he was betraying himself for his jealousy and hurt.

Didn't own her, didn't own anyone.

Didn't really own himself.

So he kept trying to stay away from Willow and settle himself, and there she was, stalking him at school, wanting forgiveness, wanting it---him---back.

But things changed, everything changed all the time, time ran on and you never got everything back. You had to appreciate what you had when you had it.

Devon finally putting his drumsticks down, and just humming.

They were still miles outside of town when Oz saw the man walking beside the road.

"Why you pulling over, dude?" Devon asked, frowning. "You're the one always telling me to be careful."

"I know this guy," Oz said, unrolling his window. "Hey," he said. The walker had turned, squinting in the headlights.

"Hey," said the vampire. He stood, hands in the pockets of his long coat.

"Kind of late for you to be out this far," Oz stated. "Ride?"

Angel looked up at the sky, seemed to consult it. "Okay."

Angel walked around the front of the van and climbed inside, closing the door with a thunk.

"Devon. Angel," Oz said. "In the band with me." He adjusted the rear view mirror so Devon wouldn't notice the lack of reflection, and put the van in gear.

"Toke?" Devon asked, pulling the makings out of his pocket. Devon could roll a joint faster than anyone, and he didn't lose a seed.

"'S okay," Angel said, sounding slightly amused. Sure, he probably smoked opium back in the day. Knew where all the veins were, better than any junkie.

"Should," Devon said wisely. "You have a vibe. Need the mellow." He licked the paper, sealing it. "Wouldn't hurt you, either, Oz, man. You're not right."

"Didn't know I was wrong," Oz said, mildly, but gripping the steering wheel. Can't fool Devon, though, never could. By the dim dashboard light, he saw Devon's long, little-boy eyelashes blinking slowly. "Okay, yeah." He turned his head to take the joint, and saw Angel, silent in the back seat, not watching them. Not really there.

The guy was a vampire and everything, but he was off.

Maybe Oz better take Devon home first.

"Dude," Devon said to Angel, "You have no reflection. What's up with that?" Devon was staring fixedly in the rear view mirror. "Know it's not the weed."

Oz pulled the van over to the parking lot of a closed convenience store and killed the engine. "Devon," he began. "Sunnydale---"


"I'm not that interesting," Angel said. "Being dead is the most interesting thing about me." He took a hit and passed the joint to Oz.

"Now you're just showing off," Oz said, inhaling. He passed it back to Devon, on the other side of Angel. They were all three lying on the mattress in the back, propped up against the back seat. "Used to think you were interesting before I knew about the undead gig."

"Sad, dude," Devon said, shaking his head wisely. "Not making the most of your opportunities."

"I can't really turn into a bat," Angel said, his forehead wrinkling up earnestly.

"Joking, dude," Devon said. "You really haven't smoked weed in fifty years?"

"Not since I was last in LA," Angel said. "Why?"

"Because you're wasting it. Be wasted, man, but don't waste the mellow." Devon nipped the joint from Angel's fingers, and sucked in a lungful before handing it off to Oz. Then, cupping his hand around Angel's chin, Devon leaned forward and put his mouth on Angel's.

Oz coughed, so very not surprised.

Angel looked a little startled, but Oz saw his jaw drop as he took in the smoke, and, probably, Devon's tongue. Devon pulled back a second, said, "Hey," and sweetly kissed Angel again.

Oz was startled by how abandoned he felt. And that was stupid, wasn't it? He already went through this jealousy thing this week. Don't own Devon, either. Don't own anyone, not even yourself, and it's not the wolf, it's Daniel, Daniel who wants to belong to someone who won't see anyone else but him.

No one ever sees Daniel looking out of Oz' face.

All this in the blink of thought, and Devon looks like he could crawl into Angel's lap in the shelter of those wide shoulders and long arms and stay awhile. Angel pets Devon, once, twice, and then gently pulls away, his eyes alight with some secret emotion.

"Hey, it's almost sunrise," Angel says, hoarse from the smoke. "I need to get back," and he manages to lift Devon from his thighs without in the least making him seem shoved away.

Angel would have been the best prom queen ever, Oz thinks, crawling back across the seat backs and to the driver's seat. He would let all the geeks cut in and dance with him. Devon follows him reluctantly, almost too baked to move fluidly, almost kicking Oz in the head when he falls into the front seat.

Oz takes Devon home first, and the sky is already a faint oyster-y color in the east, beyond the hills, as he drives to the old mansion. Just the radio on, the windows open to air the smoke out as the tires crunch up the drive, the brush thwacking the sides of the van.

"I'm sorry," Angel said. "I didn't mean to---"

Oz kills the engine and turns to him. "Don't do that, man. You didn't do anything wrong. It's me, I was jealous. I killed the buzz."

"No," Angel said. "Devon was just having fun. He didn't mean anything."

"I know. He's just---Devon. He likes to have fun. I like the fun, too." He braces his hands on the steering wheel, looking out the windshield.

"So---?" Angel asks, and he is a beautiful man, the tense lines of his jaw and eyes smoothed out by the mellow, his mouth pink, tongue moistening the lower lip.

Oz can't turn away. "It's not Devon," he says evenly.

"Oh," Angel said. Just before he leans in to kiss Oz, Oz sees his twin reflections in Angel's dark, dark eyes.

There's no fire like passion,
no seizure like anger,
no snare like delusion,
no river like craving.
-Dhammapada, 18, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Updates / Silverlake Remix