aimeelicious: (grace2_bycloudsurfing)
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I owed [livejournal.com profile] moosesal for writing me a pretty little bio, and her request was "I'd love to see a scene from Grace that is pre-Xander. Perhaps something with Oz's sister, her funeral, or something with Paddy in the weeks following the funeral. Or, on a lighter note, Oz at one of Paddy's soccer games." Here you go sweetie, hope you like it.

Goodbyes & Hellos (a pre-Grace fic snippet)
It was a beautiful day in Oregon, the June weather clear and warm, sun shining. Too bright for death.

Oz stood in the back of the group, unable to see his sister's casket. Not that it mattered, wasn't anything there worth seeing. She was gone. Gone. Too late to make amends, make up for lost time. In fact, he didn't belong here, and when the priest began a final prayer, he knew he should go. Leave, before anyone noticed him. But it was hard to walk away from family again, and his feet felt like lead.

"Uncle Daniel?"

Oz turned to see a boy, dressed up in a suit, uncomfortable and sad. Her son. His nephew.

"Padraic", he responded, voice rusty. Eleven, he must be eleven by now. So big. Eyes the same shade as Susan's.

"Paddy," came the correction. "Thank you for coming," he continued, and Oz was oddly struck by the good manners, not that they were a surprise. Susan always had been a stickler about politeness.

They stood there in silence for a few moments, and then, aware of the audience that was gathering, Oz gave a small smile, and began walking away again.

"Wait!" Padraic called, running up next to him. "Mom said.." His voice wavered, and Oz slowed down. "Mom said you'd be taking care of me now." Oz stopped completely at that, staring at a far point in the cemetery. She what? A man stepped forward from the group behind them and introduced himself.

"I'm Kevin Beach, Mr. Osbourne, Susan's attorney. What Paddy says is true, although you'll have to come to my office to discuss the details. She left you with primary custody of her son."

Oz couldn't breathe. The pale but hopeful face looking up at him was familiar and unknown at the same time. A child. And suddenly his heart made immediate room, space he hadn't known was there, for this boy he'd never met before. With that love also came fear. His life was a mess, dangerous and transitory. Not fit for a parent. But Susan...Susan had trusted him, knowing that. It could be done. He would have to cut ties with the pack. Call Willow, ask for her help. The decision was made in seconds.

"I'm Oz, Paddy. It's nice to finally meet you." Oz stuck out his hand, and instead got a big hug, long skinny arms wrapped around his neck, holding on like they'd never let go. He returned the embrace tentatively, feeling awkward in a way he hadn't since high school. When it was over, Paddy looked slightly embarrassed at his own display of emotion. But nothing could have prepared Oz for what came next.

"You have blue hair. It's cool! Will you move into my house? There are pictures of you all over. I play soccer, maybe you'd wanna to coach?" Paddy took his hand and started leading him towards the waiting cars, introducing anyone who asked to his "Uncle Oz". The enthusiasm was tempered by sorrow, but still managed to shine through, and Oz marveled at the resilience.

He also made a promise, quiet and short, to honor Susan's choice. Paddy would be safe and loved. No matter what it took.
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