The whoosh of dust always made Buffy jump a little. It didn’t matter that she’d been slaying vampires for almost nine years now, the explosion and accompanying vampire shriek made her heart skip a beat and her body tense. A twig snapping behind her made her whirl around, stake at the ready.
“Whoa, Buffy, stow the stake.”
The voice was familiar as was the person it belonged to. Buffy couldn’t help but smile at who she saw stepping out from behind a crypt.
He was holding his hands up in defense. Buffy pocketed the stake. Oz really hadn’t changed much, well except for his hair, which was ever changing. He lowered his hands and smiled back at her, his lips turning upwards ever so slightly.
“Oz, I can’t believe it’s you. What brings you to England?”
“A plane,” he deadpanned. “Heard about what happened, came to see what I could do to help.”
“That was over a year ago, Oz. What took so long?”
He shrugged. “Been out of contact, didn’t find out until last month. So, apocalypse?”
“Yeah,” Buffy sighed. “Biggest evil yet, called itself The First and….excuse me a sec.”
She came closer to him, touching his arm, and then pulling him into a hug. Oz returned the hug but raised an eyebrow in question when she released him.
“Sorry, habit. The First was non-corporeal, showed up as people we loved who were, you know, gone. Had to check.”
“Hey, whatever, I’m always up for hugs.”
Buffy smiled and started walking, Oz joining her. They started to make their way out of the graveyard, both on alert for any activity of a supernatural nature.
“Does Will know where you are?” Buffy asked.
“No, she and I….It’s better this way.”
“I get that,” Buffy nodded. “You said you wanted to help?”
“Yeah, Giles got any openings for a werewolf?”
“He might, we can always use an extra set of hands with the mini-Slayers. They’ll go ballistic when they hear about you joining us. Xander’s been telling them all about the old days, we’re all celebrities.”
“Oh, hey, the new dorms were just finished last week and there’s this thing, wanna come?”
“Is it a gathering, a shindig or a hootenanny?”
Buffy laughed, grabbing Oz’s hand and pulling him towards home. He smiled and let her.