Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Character/Pairing: Oz/Willow, Oz/Bayarmaa
Challenge/Prompt: nekid_spike A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words: Day 16:
Word Count: 1,242
Date Written: 22 August 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.
He can still smell her now after all these years. No matter how crazy things get, he can close his eyes, smell the scent of the strawberry shampoo she used to use mingled with the aromas of an early Fall, which was what her own natural odor had always reminded him of, and once more feel the calming effect she’d once had on him. He opens his eyes as the actor on the screen speaks again. “You cowered before me; I was frightening.”
Oz glances at his wife, who is completely absorbed in the movie, before standing and walking away. He can still hear the Goblin King’s voice as he moves over to a window to look out at the night. “I have reordered time. I have turned the world upside down,” Oz mouths the next part along with the incredible David Bowie, “and I have done it all for you.”
He shakes his head, lets the movie go, and just stares at the darkness outside of their apartment. Willow never wanted to be afraid of him, and God knows he doesn’t have the power to reorder time. But if he could have, he would have not just for her, he admits in this early morning hours, but for himself as well. He would do anything to go back and change what happened them. He would give anything to make her his again, but that time has passed. She’d wanted him to move on, just as she’d wanted him to give her a reason to leave, and though it had torn his heart and soul asunder to do so, he’d done exactly what she’d wanted.
He traces a heart on the windowpane, remembering the little hearts she used to doodle on both his and her notebooks. He’s moved on to an entirely different country and a different woman. He’s married now, supposedly happily, but every night, his mind turns back the years. He remembers again what it was like to hold her, to treasure her, to love her and be loved by her. He admits, even if only to himself, that he still loves her and always will. After all, as he’d told her once, wolves mate for life.
She may not be the woman he’s with now, she may have her own woman now, and he may have cheated on her, but in the end, he still loves her. She’d wanted him to go to Veruca. She’d wanted him to cut her free, and he had done it. He had done all that she asked of him, but along the way, he’d failed to realize the prison he was building for himself. She’s free to love whoever she chooses, regardless of gender or species, but he’s still caught. He’ll always be caught for he’ll always love her and she’ll never look at him again the same, adoring way she had in their high school years.
He presses his palm to the glass, wondering what she’s doing now, what new foe she, Buffy, and the rest of the Scoobies are fighting, who she’s with now that Tara’s passed, rather or not she ever thinks of him . . . while he thinks of her every single night of his life. He looks up at the moon, remembers how they used to gaze at it together, remembers the feel of her head on his shoulder and her soft, red hair brushing his cheek, and recalls the poems they used to share. Some of his were bits of lyrics he’d written for songs for the Dingoes, and he knows some of her poems were original writings too, even if she never admitted it.
She’d never outgrown her shyness while she was with him. Oz wonders if she has now, who makes her blush now, and if she’s still as incredibly cute as before when she does so. He remembers her ghost costume and how mortified she was when she realized that he’d seen her without her sheet and yearns to see her again. But seeing her again, he knows, can not fix his problem.
He could go to her, cross the miles of land and sea it would take to be by her side again, but it would resolve nothing for him or for her. He could go to her, profess his love for her, tell her he never stopped loving her, tell her he never will, . . . but even if she tells him she loves him, Oz knows the truth. She doesn’t love him any more; she never can again. She’s grown pass him, changed almost completely from the sweet, shy girl she was when they first met, and has a life all her own now, a life in which she doesn’t want him.
He closes his eyes tight against the pain welling in his heart. She wanted him to have a life without her, so he built one. He gave another woman his name, his body, his future, but not his heart. His heart will always only belong to one, and it’s not the woman sitting beside him, not the woman coming to him now.
He cringes inwardly as his wife approaches. It’s not her fault that he doesn’t love her. She’s given him everything she has just as he gave Willow everything he had. She’s done all she can to please him, and she truly believes she loves him -- although Oz knows, from the legends of old, that her true soul mate must be out there somewhere, because it’s not him. It can’t be him, because his soul mate is still in a little town across the sea in California.
Bayarmaa, as beautiful as her name, wraps her arms around him from behind and hugs him close to her. He reminds himself forcefully that this is the woman he pledged to love and cherish forever, in no small part because of the child sleeping in the next room, who is but isn’t his. The child has none of Oz’s blood in his veins, but he won’t do him as he was done as a child and as so many others were. No one except himself and his wife will ever know the truth surrounding their boy’s birth, and he will love him as his real father should have. He will love him, and his mother, as he should.
He stills himself with determination as Bayarmaa nuzzles his ear and chews its lobe gently between her sharp teeth. “Can you sing to me tonight, Oz?” she asks softly. He already knows the answer. He can and will, but it will not be the song he penned today in his sleep. It will not be the song meant for another woman just as his love will never go to another woman.
This is the woman he is to be with, the woman to whom he pledged his heart and soul. This is his future, and his past must remain behind him. He turns, taking her hands in his, and leads them into another night, his soft, crooning voice resonating in the large room. She melts before him, adores him with her eyes, and if the look of adoration she gives him reminds him of another, another who he would give anything, including his very soul, to have look at him again in that way, no one will ever know. A wolf loves forever, but sometimes, that love is never heard in his mournful cry to the moon.