Author: Kat Lee
Fandom: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Challenge/Prompt: nekid_spike A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words: Day 28:
Word Count: 888
Date Written: 29 August 2017
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to Whedon, not the author, and are used without permission.
The night is quiet. She used to think there was so much life in the night, but right now, in this still, seemingly small room, there isn’t. She seems to be the only one alive, but Willow knows better. She knows Buffy’s out there, fighting to save the world, just as she knows that Giles is handling a smaller nest of Vampires. Xander’s somewhere doing . . . Xanderly things. She hopes he hasn’t made another mistake, like he did with Cordelia, but if he has, it’s his own business.
Still, part of her wonders why he hasn’t come by. She may be “Research Girl” after all, but researching used to be their time, all of their time. She and Xander would get doughnuts, and she’d note every time Giles grabbed one while he thought they weren’t looking and then licked the sugary glaze off of his bare fingers. Oz was there for a while and even Cordelia, but tonight, it’s only her.
Her gaze shifts to the bookshelves toward the back of the library. She hasn’t felt this lonely since the first few nights of watching Oz as a Werewolf. Even then, she’d known he’d been there, just slightly out of her reach. She had read to him until she’d fallen asleep, and the hours had passed swiftly while her voice seemed to calm the wolf down.
She’s not alone, Willow thinks, turning another page. Any minute now, Giles is going to return from that nest or Xander’s going to walk in with doughnuts. Any minute now, her friends will be there. But a half hour later, Willow’s still sitting alone and still no closer to the answers they need than when she first sat down with this thick book.
She sighs and pushes the book away. She can feel herself getting sleepy, and she knows she has to wake up. They’re counting on her to find the answers, and she will find them. She is Research Girl after all. Things would just go so much faster and easier if she wasn’t alone in this stuffy, old library.
She smiles at herself. Since when does she find a library stuffy? She’d wanted to read every book in this vast room since her first day at high school, and she still does, not that she’ll ever have time to do so, what with trying her best to make sure she, Buffy, and Xander all pass and keep saving the world at the same time.
Willow’s mouth drops open in a long, loud yawn. She shakes herself, paces around the table, and finally goes to the window above the cell that used to hold Oz. It’s odd, but something seems almost to be calling her to that spot. Maybe it’s the memories, she thinks, looking around, but then she hears footsteps up above. “Who’s there?” she calls out urgently, but nobody answers.
She shakes her head. You’re being silly, she tells herself, and risky. After all, the noise she’d heard of something scuttling through leaves could have been made by a Vampire or any other number of monsters. She knows she should back away from the window, just in case, but instead she goes to it, climbs up on the seat beneath it, and looks out.
She rubs her palm across the glass, but she still can’t quite see through it. Leaning up, she cracks the window open and is surprised as a familiar scent hits her nose. She frowns, unable to place it, and leans further up to the window.
Her mouth opens to call out again, but she barely stops herself. Don’t call. Don’t make a target of yourself. Just get back to work. She knows locking the window and going back to her research is the only smart thing she can do, but it’s not what she does.
Instead she finds herself leaning further up out of the window and stops when she sees marks made on the stone ledge. They look familiar. They look -- She stumbles back and almost falls. She catches her balance just in time but still backs away from the window, her heart racing.
A howl suddenly bursts through the still, quiet night, and Willow’s lips lift into a tremulous smile. She places a hand on her chest, just over her heart, and wills its beating to calm back down to normal. She knows that howl, and now she recognizes the scent as well. Neither is anything of which to be afraid.
Oz! She beams. She wants to call out to him. She wants to shout his name. But she reminds herself that the wolf is in control right now. She keeps her mouth shut but is still smiling when she resumes her seat. Oz is back in town! Soon he’ll come see her. Soon she’ll no longer be lonely. Soon everything will be right again in her world!
Still beaming, Willow bends her head and resumes her research. She’s definitely got to help Buffy save the world tonight so she can enjoy it with Oz tomorrow. They have so much to talk about, and she’s so glad he’s back. She hums, her lonely mood lifting as she waits patiently for her Werewolf to return to her, never knowing the changes yet to come to their lives.