Any Time (The Riddles In The Dark Remix)
by Voleuse

Remix of Any Time by Selena Ulrich.

It was one of those nights. Faith was pacing in front of the TV, scrounging through the fridge, and basically scavenging for something, anything, that could obscure the heavy train of guilt chugging through her brain.

She needed to kill something, or screw something, and that's when she remembered the currently-not-furry guy in the bedroom.

She glanced at the clock, but didn't pay much attention to the time. He was a wolf, right? He didn't need much sleep anyway. He wouldn't mind if she popped in for a quick chat, or something.

When she opened the door, though, the room was dark, and she paused in the threshold. "Oz? You awake?"


His voice was groggy, thick with sleep, and she winced. "Sorry, I couldn't sleep." She squinted into the room, gazing at his pale chest without pretense. "I thought if you were still awake..." She shook her head, started to turn. "I should go."

"No. Wait. It's cool." He shuffled in his sheets, inviting her in with a smile. "C'mon."

He didn't have to ask her twice. She glided under the covers, wrapping herself lightly around his thin body. She had missed this, missed him. Missed... "Oz?"

"Hmm?" His voice hummed against her cheek, pressed against his throat.

"Do you miss her?"

"Every day." She tuned out his words, bathing in the misery and contentment. She danced with Willow's ghost every night, and she mentally tipped her hat in Angel's direction. She'd never know perfect happiness, either.

"But I'm glad," he murmured.

The unexpected word broke her reverie. "Huh?"

"Sometimes things have to change, even if you don't know it at the time," he explained, slowly. "Sometimes you have to lose the mountains to see the beauty that lies beyond it."

The devil in her was tempted to make fun, poke holes in his fancy speech. Tonight wasn't the night, though, and she couldn't help but be sincere. "I'm sorry I couldn't save her."

"You did what you could," he responded. She'd apologized a hundred times, and he'd forgiven her a hundred and one.

"Did I?" Guilt weighed heavy on her, and she didn't want to see his eyes. "I meant to. I mean, I knew about the attack. The boss--the Mayor had told me about it in such detail, it was almost like he wanted me to know, like it was some sort of present. And I wish I could say I didn't like it."

"Go on."

"It was weird," she said, slowly. Words weren't her friends, never had been. It was easier to get a message across with her fists, her feet, her tongue. But she would try to explain. For him. "I dwelt on it because it was so satisfying. Played every little detail back to entertain myself. And suddenly it hit me. It was wrong. No matter how much I hated Willow and her stabler-than-thou attitude." She had hated Willow, and she couldn't name the reasons why, not really. Hated her for loving Buffy, maybe, but she could never say that out loud. "Funny that. After all the stealing and killing I'd done without question in his name, and suddenly I'm coming over all ethical for a girl I don't even like."

A pause. "A moment of clarity." An unseen shrug. "That's what it was. You suddenly saw your life as it truly was and realised it needed to change." A tightened embrace. "I know what that's like."

"Guess so." She sighed, rubbed her face against the stubble growing on his chin. "I mean, that's why I went storming over to B's place; to warn her and get her to round up the Scoobies and get them to protect her best bud. Only when I got there..." A muffled groan, and golden skin, and didn't they understand what it all meant? She didn't cry, she doesn't cry, but something inside of her had torn.

"It hurt." Understatement of the year, but so many things he said were.

"Damn straight! They already had so much closeness, did they have to rub my fucking nose in it by letting me find them..." The torrent trickled to a stream, and she couldn't bring herself to be explicit, for once.

"They betrayed a trust."

"Not to me!" To who? To him, to the group, maybe even B's flavor-of-the-week. Why should it matter so much to her? "They didn't owe me anything! Either of them! So why did I walk away?" Walked away, let her go. If they didn't care, why should she?

"They betrayed a trust. And sometimes that's all it takes."

"I guess," she sighed into him, breathing his metal-and-fabric-softener scent. "But I still should have stayed. Faced them there and then, not six weeks later when the Mayor ascended and tried to eat us all."

"Maybe," and she could almost feel his thinking. "But you still faced them. And on the side of the white hats. I think that counts as a tick in the plus column."

"Oz?" His hand tightened on her shoulder, and she pressed against him to distract herself. "Did we make them do it?"

"No," he said, shifting his body toward her. "We weren't responsible. Switching sides was their decision. Whatever happened between us happened away from them. They couldn't have seen it."

"I still feel we could have tried harder," and she could smell him, and wanted a taste. Was it worth everything, worth the past, to be able to ease herself around him?

"We did," and he ran a careful hand over her neck, into her hair. "It didn't work. And for what it's worth, I still regret that."

"Me too." She paused, contemplating him, his skin glowing in repose, and felt some peace. "But I don't regret us for one minute."

With a smile, she brushed her lips against his cheek, his chin, his mouth. It felt like a first kiss, her very first one, even as all the ones before flashed through her mind with promise. His other hand smoothed its way down her back, rested on her hip, and she could do this for ever, once she got another breath.

As they gasped, quietly, she licked her lips and grinned. "You're a good kisser. I know that's not exactly what you want to hear, but..."

He chuckled, and she dipped her head to his throat. "It's a start," and she nibbled at his ear with intent. "And it's genuine. That's what matters. You're a good kisser too."

"Thanks." She paused, took in his scent, and wondered whether he was doing the same. "Always good to be told I'm not losing my touch."

"Any time."

She closed her eyes, finally, and drifted to sleep in Oz's arms.


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