The Records To Prove It
written by Shelley

Rating: FRC
Spoilers: Revelations.
Summary: Willow sends Oz to check on Giles. They bond.
Thanks: Many, many thanks to Taryn for her inspired suggestion to keep this story from going flat.
Dedication: This was written for the Giles/Oz ficathon. Trekker wanted an angst-flavored friendship fic, set in the second or third season.
Feedback Author: Shelley

Oz figured he owed Giles. Giles denied it--denied it every month, in fact--but Oz knew that he did.

Giles gave Oz a cage and a place to stay, three nights every month. More than that, the man always stayed late at the library to personally make sure that he was locked up tight. Yeah, Willow stayed with him, kept him mellow when the moon was up and let him out in the morning, but it was Giles who locked him up. Giles who kept him from hurting anyone. Giles who kept Willow safe.

So yeah, Oz owed him.

But that wasn’t why he was here now, checking up on the guy. He was here because Willow wanted him here, since she had some family gig going tonight and couldn’t be here herself. And he was here because he wanted to be here. And if he paid off a small part of his debt while he was at it, well, that was cool too.

The werewolf knocked and then waited patiently for Giles to open the door. He had to wait for a while, and Oz decided to just go in. He was here to make sure that Giles hadn’t slipped back into unconsciousness, and Oz didn’t like the fact that it was taking the Watcher so long to open the door.

Oz tried the knob and discovered the door locked, a rather unusual occurrence for Giles. He was on his way to examine the windows when he heard the sound of the deadbolt being thrown back. Oz was back in front of the door before Giles had it opened; no need for the Watcher to know how close he’d come to a broken window.

When Giles opened the door, the smell emanating from the apartment almost knocked him down. Oz suspected that he would have been able to smell the scotch coming off of Giles even without his enhanced werewolf sense of smell; with it, it was almost overpowering. Despite the smell, however, Giles didn’t look drunk. Rumpled, troubled, pissed off… but relatively sober And his voice was clear and unslurred. “Oz. Can I help you with something?”

“Nah,” Oz said. “Just came to hang.”

Giles’ gaze narrowed suspiciously. “And why would you want to do that?”

Oz shrugged. “Willow told me that you were a wild man when you were sixteen. I wanted to know if you had the record collection to prove it.”

Giles scowled, but moved aside and gestured him in wordlessly. Oz walked in the same way, and Giles closed the door behind him. Giles didn’t bother relocking the door, and Oz took that to mean that he wouldn’t be staying for long.

When Oz was settled on his sofa, Giles nailed him with a sharp stare. “I presume that it is too much to hope for that this sudden interest in my record collection is unrelated to my recent injury.” Oz shrugged, and Giles glowered. “I *told* Willow that I would be fine…”

“She worries,” Oz said. “I think she’s right though. Mrs. Post doesn’t mess around when she decides to hit somebody on the head.” Giles glared at him, but Oz was unmoved. Instead he waved his hand in the vague direction of Giles’ liquor cabinet. “Also, I don’t think you’re supposed to be drinking so soon after a cracked skull.”

Giles promptly crumpled. “No, I don’t suppose that I should. And now that you have evidence that Willow was correct to be concerned, I assume that you’ll be staying for a while. Would you like some tea?”

“That’d be good,” Oz admitted. “So, can I see ‘em?”

“See what?” Giles called from the kitchen.

“Your record collection.”

Giles chuckled. “You aren’t honestly interested in a collection of 1970’s rock, are you?”

“Yeah, I am,” Oz replied earnestly. “My parents were flower children. They have lots of folk singers, not too much classic rock. Devon got me interested in the sound.” He grinned. “Wasn’t too hard. There’s only so much Joan Baez a guy can take.”

Giles laughed. “I can understand that. I have a rather low tolerance myself.”

“Exactly,” Oz agreed. “I used to go to Devon’s house after school and listen to the classics, and that’s how we became friends. That’s why I joined his band.”

“Ah,” Giles responded noncommittally as he brought in the tea tray. “Willow told me that you were a musician.”

“Not so much,” Oz admitted. “But I want to be. I figure as soon as I reach an E-flat, diminished ninth, then I will be.”

“Good Lord,” Giles cried. Oz looked at the older man in alarm, but it was obviously a good ‘good Lord’. Giles was smiling. Not his usual fleeting grin, but a wide happy smile. Oz felt pretty good about the fact that he had put that look on Giles’ face. “I remember trying to learn that chord. Right bugger it was,” he giggled.

“Did you ever make it?” Oz asked curiously.

“Yes, I did,” Giles said proudly. “It went something like this, as I recall.” Giles held his left arm out to the side, and brought his right arm over his stomach. He played air guitar like someone who knew what he was doing, like a real musician rather than a poser. Intrigued, Oz stared at Giles’ left hand, curious to see if he could indeed reach that elusive note. Giles’ hand began to twitch from the strain, and he suddenly dropped both arms. He didn’t look happy any longer, but rather old and tired. “Uh, on second thought, perhaps not. I, um, don’t imagine that I…” Giles trailed out, obviously humiliated about something.

Oz was puzzled for a second, but then he remembered. Angelus had broken Giles’ fingers; Oz doubted that Giles could do anything beyond the most basic chords any longer. He had a better shot of reaching the moon than he did an E-flat diminished ninth.

Angelus had done that, and then Buffy had made the damage worse by hiding Angel’s return. This wasn’t a good place for them to be, Oz decided. He was here to cheer Giles up, not remind him of the day’s events. “Thanks, man, but I kinda want to figure this out on my own. Besides, I want to hear your records.”

“Alright,” Giles agreed cautiously. “What did you want to hear?”

“There was this one time that I heard the Stones singing some song about the devil,” Oz mused. “That was pretty cool. You got that one?”

“I think I’m insulted,” Giles answered with a slight smile. “An Englishman without a complete collection of Rolling Stones’ albums? Unheard of!”

Oz grinned. “Prove it then.”

Giles grinned back, and then opened a low cupboard, revealing a quite respectable record collection. He scanned through them for a moment, and then pulled out the one he wanted. He put on “Sympathy for the Devil” and then leaned back on the sofa. He had his eyes closed, and was clearly lost in the music. Oz shrugged, then sat beside him and followed his example.

After the song ended, Giles put on a cover of the same song by Blood, Sweat and Tears. Oz had never heard that group before and thought they were pretty cool, so Giles played the entire album. This was followed by some Cream, and then by Led Zeppelin.

Hours passed in this fashion, sitting beside each other on Giles’ battered sofa while they listened to music. At first, the time passed in near silence, but that didn’t last for long. They started talking about the music that was playing at the moment, and then it was concerts they had attended in the past, and then it was about their experiences playing in bands. Once they reached the personal level, everything was fair game. They started talking about themselves, and nothing was off-limits. Nothing except vampires, and Slaying, and Buffy, and Angel. Okay, a lot of topics were off-limits, but it was still the most honest conversation that Oz had had in a good long time.

Giles was telling him about the time his drummer was arrested for drug possession less than two hours before a performance and Jim Morrison was screaming about breaking on through, when Oz let out a loud yawn.

“Oh, Oz,” Giles said apologetically. “I am so sorry. I didn’t mean—“

“Nah, it’s cool,” Oz assured him. “I had fun tonight.”

“So did I,” Giles admitted. “Did you drive your van, or do you need me to take you home?”

“I walked,” Oz told him. “But it’s no problem. I can walk home.”

Giles frowned. “Don’t be ridiculous. Its—“ Giles paused to look at his watch, and his eyes widened in surprise. “It’s nearly 3:00. You can’t walk home alone at this time of night. Just wait a moment, and I’ll go get my keys.”

“You can’t,” Oz reminded him. “Your car is still at school.”

Giles reddened in embarrassment. “I’ll call you a cab then.”

Oz shook his head. “Nah. I’m fine crashing on your sofa. I don’t even need any sheets or anything, just that blanket there.” He blushed a little at a sudden thought. “If that’s alright with you, I mean.”

Giles scrunched up his forehead in concern. “I’m not sure that’s the best idea, Oz.”

“Don’t worry, Giles,” Oz said with a grin. “Your virtue is safe with me.”

Giles froze, and Oz listened to what he had just said. After an evening of just hanging, he had forgotten that Giles was a teacher. Or sort of a teacher. That was the sort of smartass remark he might have given Devon or one of the other guys from his band, not to the school librarian.

Except, he hadn’t entirely meant it as a smartass remark. In fact, Oz wasn’t sure that he had meant that promise at all.

A smoky look passed through Giles’ eyes, and he asked, “Ah, but how do you know that your virtue is safe with me?” He said it lightly, so Oz could pass it off as a joke if he wanted, but there was an underlying tone that said he was free to take that joke as seriously as he wanted. A tone that assured Oz that Giles wouldn’t throw him out of his bed if he chose to spend the night there.

And Oz was tempted. More than he thought he ever could have been. But then he remembered why he was there in the first place, and the moment passed. “Johnny Depp and Madonna together couldn’t threaten my virtue. Willow and me—“

An indecipherable look passed over Giles’ face like a wildfire, and then was gone before Oz could figure it out. “Ah yes. Willow. She’s a remarkable young woman, you know. You two seem well suited.”

“Willow is the best thing that ever happened to me,” Oz told him truthfully. “I know that she would never let anybody get between us, and I figure that I’ve got to be the same way.”

Giles nodded. “I’m glad. For both of you.” He started up the stairs, but paused halfway up the stairs. “Good night, Oz. Thanks for coming over.”

“I enjoyed it.” Oz paused, wanting to extend their conversation a bit longer. But then he thought about his moment of temptation, and of his beautiful redheaded girlfriend, and he just wanted Giles to split. ‘Night, Giles. Have good dreams.”

Giles didn’t say anything, just hesitated on his stairs for a long time. Finally, he called down, “Thank you, Oz.”

Oz wondered what Giles was thanking him for, but then realized that he knew. “Yeah. You too, Giles.”