Author's note: this story is set in Buffy season 4, just after Oz left, and roughly season 4 for Stargate SG-1.

I don't own, whole or in any part, any of the Stargate or Buffy franchise, and this will continue to be the case throughout the story. So don't sue me.


Oz was gone. Willow thought, if she thought the words enough, they'd stop hurting, just become some kind of meaningless babble. Of course, she had come up with this idea after she'd realised she couldn't stop thinking those words.

Buffy had gone on patrol. Willow had insisted that she go, it wasn't helpful having someone around all the time, fussing over her and making sure she was alright. Then again, it wasn't helpful being alone either. Nothing helped the dull ache where her heart should've been.

Since when did the room get so small? Even with the windows fully open, there wasn't enough air. Willow was constricted, trapped, suffocating. She had to get out. Oh, she knew it was dangerous in Sunnydale at night, but it was just as dangerous to be in a room with the walls closing in on her.

She felt a little better outside - it was a cold night for California, although Giles would probably say it was the height of summer back in England - and walking helped take her mind of things, as she counted her footsteps to avoid thinking. Unsurprisingly, it didn't work - the mind of Willow, infamous babbler, would never be at rest with so simple a task.

She didn't know where she was going. The destination didn't really bother her, and besides, Sunnydale was small enough that it was nigh on impossible to get lost.

It wasn't until she was outside the mansion which had been Angel's, before he left too, that Willow had an inkling of where she was. It was a bad area, plenty of vampires (well, this was Sunnydale, everywhere had plenty of vampires) and she realised that she should be scared. She couldn't quite figure out why she wasn't.

She wasn't even scared when a familiar voice commented dreamily, from a patch of shadow "Hmmm, you smell like my William. Dear little William, lost little William, trapped little William." the voice went on, in a singsong.

Drusilla stepped out of the shadows, face incredibly pale compared to darkness of her large eyes and cascading hair, looking almost consumptive from the reflected light of her red dress. Of course, thought Willow, when Angel had been evil, he'd shared the mansion with Drusilla and Spike too. It was only reasonable to expect that she'd come here, if she were looking for Spike.

Willow still wasn't scared. She expected it was the dark, hypnotic eyes, boring into hers as though trying to find every secret she had ever had. And she just stared back, spellbound. "Poor Red, I bumped her head. Now she's here, wishing her William were near." the crazy vampire sang sadly. Then she asked "Who is your William? I'd lend you mine, but he seems to be mislaid. Besides, he never was much for the sharing."

"Oz. His name is Oz." Willow replied hoarsely, and wasn't quite sure why she did. In fact, she wasn't sure why Drusilla hadn't killed her already.

Drusilla laughed, a deep rich chuckle. "Oh, the little man behind the curtain ran away to Emerald City! But he left behind his Red, who's sad now. She shouldn't be sad. Pixies aren't sad, you know." She said, quite seriously, looking up at the stars. Willow hadn't the faintest of ideas of how to respond to that, so she opted for a nod.

Then Drusilla looked at her again, consideringly. As though weighing her up for a meal. Of course, now Willow felt scared, much, much too late. "Tell me, little one, will you come to tea? Miss Edith is lonely, there's no one home. Don't you worry, I won't eat you. The pixies say you're too sad, the tears you refuse to shed might make you salty. Ugh, salt." Drusilla asked, before beginning to waltz to a tune that only she heard.

Surprisingly enough, Willow actually contemplated the proposal. Perhaps it was because she was the first person since Oz left to not treat her as though she were fragile and might break at a touch. More probably though, given her luck, she'd fallen under her thrall, just as Kendra had before being slaughtered. And, despite that morbid thought, she accepted.

With an ecstatic clap and a joyful smile, Drusilla seized Willow's arm and lead her inside. (Willow shied away from the touch, but the vampire was too strong and too quick to be denied.) In a flash, she was upstairs being dragged into a dark, dusty room, primarily taken up with an ornate structure, a ring of some kind, on the floor. The light was poor, but she could see symbols unlike any she'd seen before - and after helping Giles research for years, she had seen a lot. She'd love to research this, she'd always preferred that aspect of Scooby work than the actually Slaying...

Her musings were interrupted when Drusilla said, quite lucidly "Already, the thought of Oz leaves your head. When left behind, one soon finds ways to fill in the empty space." She spoke sadly, as though through experience. Willow, suddenly feeling the peculiar need to comfort the other woman, gave her a quick smile. Drusilla's answering smile was like the sun coming up (or some similar, more vampire-friendly simile). "Will you stay for tea?"

"Yes. Yes, I believe I will." and she did, for most of the night. They just sat there, drinking tea by candlelight, talking about everything that crossed their minds - neither of them bothered to hold onto a train of thought for long, and the craziness that peppered Drusilla's conversation went unnoticed by the other woman, who, to be fair, donated her fair share of insanity to the conversation.

All in all, it was possibly the strangest night Willow had ever spent, and the odd thing was, she didn't care that she'd been at the mercy of a mentally unstable vampire for hours. Because, sometime during the conversation, she'd noticed that her heart ached less. It still ached, of course, but a crazy conversation with a crazy woman, occasionally touching on her crazy lover, helped her put things in perspective.

Besides, there was that mysterious ring to investigate.