Knowing that someone was dangerous counted as 'getting acquainted.' Retreat was a matter of personal opinion.
That he had no way of knowing how much of a danger Remy was would have been a concern for someone else. A person who didn't see risk as a part of life no matter if demons were involved or not.
Oz didn't think Remy was a demon. Not really.
He had certain nonhuman qualities, but smell was more important than eye color. It spoke well of his instincts that Remy didn't try and act like he wasn't hyperaware of Oz's particularly specialized methods of character evaluation.
//Doesn't smell right, then run or eat.//
Remy smelled good enough to bit and run with.
That thought didn't necessarily inspire Oz to relax, but Remy only smiled at him when he tried to explain, more amused than seemed appropriate.
Most people didn't find the combination of 'werewolves and biting' funny. Hysterically impossible to imagine, maybe.
Remy leaned back on his elbows and looked up as though he was reading the cloud banks. Waiting for an answer, or Oz to come out with something against this thing.
"I'm not exactly safe to be around," he warned, guessing from Remy's expression that he'd heard it before.
Oz had never liked arguing when it was pointless and continued pushing sand into a mound with his feet.
It was obvious in a sky-blue way that Remy wasn't unconcerned so much as accepting of the risk that he knew Oz posed. Men like the Cajun knew their way around danger well enough to have a taste for it.
Wind cut through clothes like unpleasant and inescapable conclusions, and Oz thought of fur and staying warm.
The Cajun didn't offer to share body heat, but after Oz shivered violently for a third time, a long lean body dropped down beside him, the option of closeness open.
There was no sign that Remy would try and get nearer, though something about the way he sat, slowly relaxing like sap in summer heat, told Oz that he more than wouldn't mind a little closeness. Granted, he might not come out and say it, but Oz could smell longing and the air was weighted down with it.
On most beaches, Oz's skin would have suffered to a painful redness after only a short exposure. But on the Northern Pacific coast he found the clouds apt to conceal the sun for special occasions and then in doses manageable by sunscreen. Being in such close proximity to a human who wasn't afraid felt like waiting for the burn.
In Sunnydale there had been obvious remnants of the past. A large city was better able to pave over a history not lit by the familiar artificial glow of Invention. A part of him beyond modern thinking mourned the way that history was confined to books and museums.
For that reason he enjoyed the lazy track of roads that led deeper into the rich greenery of the Pacific coast.
There he could inhale centuries and walk among decades of Nature's work. In a place so pure he felt that being honest was more necessary than courtesy.
It was to the impenetrable privacy of the woods that he returned at night when the moon rose and //human//felt like pretending.
While not-yet-spring weather kept most off northern beaches, there were still those undeterred by clouds and rain who had to be avoided.
Except for Remy.
He seemed a fixture of the beach, refusing to leave when it would have been sensible, and appearing whenever Oz's thoughts took a more shadowy direction.
The water lapping steadily at his feet gave him a point of reference. He had to start from somewhere, and the sound of waves was as good a mantra as any.
What force or circumstance had brought Remy up north became worth contemplation as he settled.
Like they had a routine, Remy wandered to Oz's spot on the beach after Oz had settled in. It was almost as though he could sense when Oz was able to handle being around anyone else.
As they shared lunch assembled from the local Handy-Dandy Mart, Oz glanced over and noticed that Remy was good looking. It had registered, but among a slew of personal readjustments and trying to stay dry it hadn't sunk in as in more than 'oh, alright.' Now, returned to an ease he thought he had lost from the monastery, appreciation had woken up.
Remy was attractive. Not puppy cute or comfortingly normal, more edged, but with a certain softness to his mouth that could be curled in anger, or swollen with passion.
Oz hadn't encountered either emotion, and he wondered about the reason why.
He knew enough about defense mechanisms to recognize the armor that Gambit used. Charming, seductive, and only as approachable as he allowed.
The other man had the tall loom of a person that had years to become comfortable with themselves- though he still slunk somewhat, as if recovering from wounds that had nothing to do with the body.
In spite of whatever had hurt him, Remy hid none of his talents, and indeed, used those skills that worked against him knowing a normal life with a casual practicality that gave away none of the experience needed to command such abilities.
On some level a person being able to do things that he'd only thought a Slayer or another similarly Destined individual could claim. It wasn't as if extreme genetic variations leading to extraordinary abilities was out of the question. Magic couldn't be the answer to every weird thing, sooner or later, other natural oddities had to show themselves.
Asking Remy exactly what he called himself had gotten a look of 'you haven't any idea?'
Guessing 'demon' had been impolite and not at all what he was thinking, and Remy had snorted.
'No, mutant' wasn't everything, and there was something close enough to being said that Oz could feel it. Then Remy had asked some vague and frustrating questions about politics and plainly been debating what else Oz wanted to know and how far to let him in. Then he'd stood up and done one a 'need a few minutes' exit.
Oz watched him, got to his feet, and decided that shaking sand out of his clothes was a production where lupine blood supplies the best method.
There was some insanely bright and happy German song coming from a boom box somewhere. Really hard to brood when someone was warbling 'w..w.w..and so on...'
History and identity were tied up like old shoelaces, and it figured that Remy would have the same trouble. The obvious was easy to disclose, but anything else took time.
In Remy was the comforting self-sufficiency of the survivor. He could go away on his own, even in the most uncivilized places and have no more difficulty than if he'd been in a modern town.
Oz was tempted to follow him and see how he was doing, but they weren't so close that tracking might not be taken the wrong way.
When Remy didn't show up the next morning Oz took it to be a hint to do things on his own terms.
Just a short distance from the beach, a 'prayer room' squatted close to the road and Wrecking yards were tucked off more numerous than fast food joints.
Everywhere he looked, the trees were a force, green, brown and looming up, dwarfing man-made upstart construction.
Signs with camping and dining symbols seemed more reassurance than reminders.
The people were spread out in houses that ran to one level modest dwellings. Some places were obviously ill-kept. Moss and grayed wood contrasting to result in structures that were best described as 'ramshackle.'
Without any messages from on high Oz knew that Remy wouldn't stay anyplace where he would have to compete with rodents for bedding, and moved on.
It rained on him more than once. He dealt with it like any sensible animal would and found shelter, noting that no matter what the owners might think, an ocean-side resort was no place for the creative use of orange paint.
On the road again, the moon shone in puddles like had fallen; a glowing sphere illuminating not-so-great distances.
He caught the scent of heated spices a mile past the building that had been painted offensively enough to ruffle fur.
Doubtless had Remy wanted to run and stay lost he would have done so. On the path up to the modest but timelessly cozy 'Oceanside Inn,' Oz thought that it might have been about whether or not he cared to follow Remy.
The man's presence on the steps in front of his room, smoking patiently, told Oz he'd been right.
"You're soaked," he noted with mild 'just for your information' lilt to his words.
There was no smugness in Remy's face, simply a pleasure at having been found.
Wanting to follow and being successful gave him clearance to sit beside Remy and ask if he wanted to.
That he wouldn't right away was likely another silence in his favor.
Remy was so close that Oz felt him like late afternoon sunshine down his body. It made him want to curl into that warmth, allow himself to be comforted by it. He thought it could have been like a song if only he knew what to listen for.
The movement needed to get more contact was so right that it was done. He felt more puppy-ish than ever, sort of draped over Remy's lap and burrowing to keep that heat. The slow flush that went up his spine as Remy stroked his face was utterly human.
Remy might not be a shape shifter of any sort, but he certainly knew how to adapt in any situation. Sensual appeal was as much of a tool as any other ability, and doubtless he knew well how best to use it. His caution implied he'd gotten used to thinking of life in terms of his 'share.' Oz hoped that he would recognize it becoming 'their take'.
Beyond the shelter of the porch, rain fell unevenly like a badly sewn sheet. Oz let the fragrance of moist earth rising up like incense sooth him into stillness. He curled around Remy like it was necessary and fell asleep.
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Fandom: Buffy, X-Men
Title: Still Coastal
Author: scy [email]
Details: Standalone | PG-13 | *slash* | 9k | 03/12/04
Notes: For Victoria P. and Mala. Sequel to 'Gris.'
Disclaimer/Other: See my sad face?
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