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Plus Ca Change (plus c'est la meme chose)

Author Brutti ma buoni
Title Plus Ça Change (plus c'est la même chose)
Rating PG
Characters Oz, ensemble, Spike/Buffy
Words 1000
Prompt A very literal take on 'Everybody has a better job, apart from…'
Setting Post series




Ten Years On, flaunts the banner. Ten Years On from Graduation Day and the Giant Snake Mayor Who Only Killed A Statistically Insignificant Proportion of the Graduating Class and Their Families, it should probably mention, but the committee seem to have foregone that part. Or perhaps it's that there's so much else that could be added (Assuming You Don't Count Those Who Never Made It To Graduation, In Which Case Statistical Significance Is More Than Achieved, Especially Counting Everyone Who Died Since Including the Ones That Went Down With the Entire City of Sunnydale Four Years After).

Oz, pondering, is starting to grasp why the committee went with non-specific.

He really didn't intend to attend, but fate seemed determined to place him in southern California at the relevant time, and there are people he's not sorry to see. The committee have done pretty well, considering the large-scale destruction of school records in both snake and town-collapse episodes. Pretty much the people he knows are alive are here.

The surviving portions of Dingoes, for a start, though they seem disturbingly corporate now. Harmony Kendall, previously one of his least favourite classmates, is going through an interesting vampire transformation thing where she's both evil and friendly, which makes conversations with her at least 65% more interesting. She works in LA, obviously. Some law firm. Seems well. Tucker Wells, surprisingly sane, and even more surprisingly present, considering this is commemorating the graduation class he aimed the hell beasts at, not so much his own. Tucker works for the Parks Service now. Apparently the time outdoors has 'cleared his head'. Which is cautiously good news. Freddie actually made it into journalism, though he skipped out and now runs a vicious critical blog excoriating celebrity culture, sponsored by three major movie studios. He looks obnoxiously happy on it.

Of the Scoobies, Oz spots Xander first. Looking good, which is no great surprise. Oz has loosely been in touch with Xander a while, since a werewolf thing in '07 needed some external consultancy. He seems well. A little suit-wearing and smug for Oz's taste, but this whole quartermaster thing seems like Xander's found his place.

Then he gets just a whiff, just a hint of Willow. He closes his eyes. Lets it waft over and past. There's no there, there. Not anymore. It's just Willow. Eyes open, and she's there. A little cautious, but he smiles, and she hugs him tight. "Oz! It's so good to see you!" The girl at her side looks cautious, but not unfriendly. Oz doesn't wolf out, and caution starts to turn into social interaction.

He always kind of thought Willow would stay with Buffy, but no. "That magicks – it just got too powerful. I'm better doing other things. Software development. I dabble with Wicca these days." She makes a cute little Willow-face, on the word dabble, and he remembers kissing her for the first time. Sex, with Willow, precisely ten years ago. How sweet she was.

The unknown girl elbows Willow while smiling through her teeth. It's possible Oz failed to keep his external cool, just then. "Sorry, sweetie – you have to meet Kennedy, Oz. She's a leading Slayer, in the Council. So I'm not totally out of the loop. Just, peripheral. Loop adjacent." She babbles. Kennedy smiles a smile that seems to involve more teeth than necessary, and Oz nods, pretends to spot someone he knows, and leaves the past behind.

Unexpectedly, the pathway between him and the beverage table is occupied by someone he does, in fact, know. Buffy Summers, large as life and just as unexpected. "Buffy. Unexpected." It's weak, but it's the best Oz can do in the face of an unforeseen radiant cheerleader turned world saviour.

She smiles, beams even. "Yeah. I know. I missed out on most of our class events."

"Or saved the class during them," Oz points out. Then, quickly, "So does that mean-"

"Nope." She grins. "Here for the fun of it. Seemed like the time." She's wearing something a little like that prom dress. Thin and pale pink, and doing good things for her.

"Are you well? All good?" Oz tries the usual queries, and she pings questions back at him, establishes that the whole guru thing is working well for him, and it's only later that he realises what a dumb question it was to ask, "And work? What are you doing these days?"

She freezes, a little, and he flashes back to the whole careers thing. Oh. Yes. "Slaying. Saving the world. Killing stuff. Dying. You know the drill."

"Huh." He flails, internally. "Sounds… essential." Sounds identical to when they last spoke, honestly. Sacred duty must really bind. What's next on the list of tactless reunion questions… You and Angel, still together? But he knows the answer to that one, so it becomes, "You seeing anyone?"

"Yes, actually. You probably remember him. I mean, there aren't that many vampires from Sunnydale still around-"

"You're still with Angel?" Oz very nearly makes an expression there. It's startling.

"Wash your mouth out," comes a voice that actually is familiar, from behind Oz, and he whirls around, cursing the relaxation that means he doesn't carry his own stake anymore.

It's not a very aggressive voice, admittedly. "Buff, you've got to protect me. Harm keeps trying to do tender remembrance at me. Can't you get territorial on her? Hello dog boy. You keeping well?"

Spike. Spike and Buffy. That's… that really is unexpected. And disturbing. Though she looks happy. So does he, which is more disturbing still. "Got some crappy wine cooler stuff, nothing better to be had. Might as well dance, don't you think, Slayer?"

"Okay. Nice talking to you, Oz," and Buffy the Vampire Slayer walks onto the dance floor in the arms of her vampire lover. Again. Just as if ten years hadn't passed. Even if it's a very different vampire this time. Even if she looks happier, these days.

Even if only 56% of people Oz started high school with are still alive to see them.

***

Comments

( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
drizzlydaze
Jul. 14th, 2013 04:08 pm (UTC)
Oz POV is always great. I love how specific he is with wording and how very Oz-zen he is still. '"Huh." He flails, internally. ' <-- absolutely perfect. There are many wonderful, perfect things you put in Oz POV, but to list them all would be 98.7% of the entire fic. Of course, it's not just the stoicity of Oz, it's also his deadpan insight and GAH I just love Oz and this fic.
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 14th, 2013 05:20 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! He's a challenge, always, because you can overdo the tropes so easily. Glad this read well to you!
readerjane
Jul. 14th, 2013 04:10 pm (UTC)
Ooh, hard-hitting.

Reunions are always awkward, even when they go well.

Nice to see Oz's perspective. He always cuts to the essentials.
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 14th, 2013 05:22 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It's the same questions, over and over, that tend to get me down about reunions. Oz is not alone there.
waddiwasiwitch
Jul. 14th, 2013 04:22 pm (UTC)
Loved this. I always enjoy seeing Spuffy from an outsiders perspective.
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 14th, 2013 05:52 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Nice to switch up the POVs.
zanthinegirl
Jul. 14th, 2013 04:25 pm (UTC)
OZ! My favorite, favorite Oz. He doesn't turn up much in fic these days, and he's so hard to write well. You really captured him for me though, nicely done!

Harmony Kendall, previously one of his least favourite classmates, is going through an interesting vampire transformation thing where she's both evil and friendly, which makes conversations with her at least 65% more interesting.

Hee!
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 14th, 2013 05:52 pm (UTC)
I agree, there isn't enough Oz about these days. Glad you enjoyed this one!
shapinglight
Jul. 14th, 2013 05:06 pm (UTC)
This is great. I've never tried writing Oz, let alone his POV, and am very impressed by how well you've done it.
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 14th, 2013 05:53 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I rather like him as a challenge. Like Anya, I find him a struggle for longer fic though - I can't sustain the voice well enough.
velvetwhip
Jul. 14th, 2013 06:12 pm (UTC)
I loved this! Excellent Oz voice throughout. Like everyone, I particularly loved: Harmony Kendall, previously one of his least favourite classmates, is going through an interesting vampire transformation thing where she's both evil and friendly, which makes conversations with her at least 65% more interesting.

That was so perfectly Oz I could actually hear him saying it.


Gabrielle
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 14th, 2013 08:35 pm (UTC)
*G* I love the idea of Harmony at this thing. And Oz, reacting to her.
rebcake
Jul. 14th, 2013 07:05 pm (UTC)
"Buff, you've got to protect me.

Hee! Cute little switch there coming on the heels of Oz wishing for his stake. I loved the call outs to lesser known classmates like Freddie and the surprisingly sane Tucker. I'm so glad that the committee invited Harm! Actually, I'll bet she was on the committee! She probably was the committee, what with all her super PA skills.

As everybody mentioned, it's great to have a nice Oz POV. He's hard to get right, but so much fun. Thanks for this.
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 14th, 2013 08:36 pm (UTC)
Harmony would be awesome on the committee! And you know W&H have great address books, for tracking down all those lost Sunnydalers...

Yikes. :-)
rahirah
Jul. 14th, 2013 08:20 pm (UTC)
Oz has a disturbing habit of cutting to the chase.
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 14th, 2013 08:52 pm (UTC)
Indeed he does. When I started totting up everyone we know who died after/at Graduation (Larry, Cordelia, Harmony, Jonathan, Webs), it's a pretty big percentage of named characters. Class Protector can't be everywhere.
slaymesoftly
Jul. 14th, 2013 08:32 pm (UTC)
Nicely done! Very good Oz voice. You're still with Angel?" Oz very nearly makes an expression there. LOL oh excellent!

I too, am trying to combine fag ends prompts with by (new) trope bingo card. Alas, I'm sure all the ones for sb_fag_ends will end up in the ashtray as they won't be finished in a timely fashion. But you never know....
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 14th, 2013 08:54 pm (UTC)
This was a total accident, actually - I forgot I had reunion on my card! I'm not planning to aim for a blackout at all this year, so I'll just see where the prompts take me. Glad you liked this one!
slaymesoftly
Jul. 14th, 2013 09:21 pm (UTC)
I'm sure a blackout is out of the question - but I am going to try for something better than 3 or 4 last minute amnesty fics. I think I can get at least one bingo- maybe two.
kikimay
Jul. 15th, 2013 10:36 am (UTC)
Adorable! I love your take on Oz's POV and I really like Spike's appereance in the end. He's funny and cute when he's a little jealous.
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 16th, 2013 08:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! The whole scenario amused me.
gingerwall
Jul. 15th, 2013 12:52 pm (UTC)
I love your Oz voice! And the idea of Spike and Buffy at a high school reunion together. :)
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 16th, 2013 08:31 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! Such a funny idea from the prompts. :)
spuffy_luvr
Jul. 15th, 2013 09:43 pm (UTC)
"Wash your mouth out." Hee!

LOVE Oz. This is perfect from his POV.
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 16th, 2013 08:32 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Such a fun scenario in the prompts, I couldn't resist.
thisficklemob
Jul. 16th, 2013 07:34 pm (UTC)
Aww, Oz.
brutti_ma_buoni
Jul. 16th, 2013 08:42 pm (UTC)
I loves him deeply.
red_satin_doll
Jul. 17th, 2013 11:40 pm (UTC)
I don't read a lot of Oz fics admittedly but this one was priceless. spot-on voice - still waters run deep, don't they? You've woven funny and sad and poignant and hopeful together. The encounter with Willow feels incredibly awkward, and I love seeing Buffy happy here.

And that last line? Whoa. The reality of life on the front lines.
snogged
Jul. 23rd, 2013 12:51 am (UTC)
I really love that you told this story from Oz's POV. It felt really in character.

Well done!
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )

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