MIRRORS OF THE SOUL

By D.M. Evans

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Disclaimer - not mine. Joss owns all.

Summary - In the aftermath of the debacle with Tara and Oz, Willow reflects on what drew her to him in the first place.

Rating - PG-13

Fandom - BtVS

Spoilers - zip, set in S4 of BtVS

Warnings - character death

Author's Note #1 - This was written for the Remix/Redux challenge. It was written for Lars. The story remixed was "Well in Hand" and can be found at

Author's Note #2 - Thanks to SJ and Flippy for editing this.

We've been driving so long I think he'll never stop. Even at gas stations and rest stops he's alert like a predator, jumping at the least little movement. Each time he steps away from the van, he can't help looking in the back where his musical equipment is.

I always loved hearing him play, watching his hands slide up and down the neck of the guitar, squeezing out sweet sounds from the strings, like he was some short Apollo with hair that changed colors with the setting of the sun. I remember the frisson of fury that had bubbled in my gut when Freddy Iverson wrote in the school paper that my Oz played like he had sausages strapped to his fingers, and all Oz did was agree in that terse way of his that managed to convey so much with so few words. I envied that ability. I was snipped from the same bolt of tweed as Giles. Words were my friends; only today they failed me.

I hadn't expected to see Oz again so soon after he had left campus, was unprepared for his return. I knew I had torn him inside. I hadn't meant to. I would never had imagined, if you had told me just a few months ago, that I could chose a woman over Oz, that I could love either sex with the same depth and passion. My vampire self had given me a window into that part of myself, and back then I had recoiled from it.

Now, I embraced it, and I saw something die in Oz's intense eyes when I chose Tara over him. I can't remember not loving Oz's eyes. They said everything his mouth didn't. They were the barometer of his moods. They rained down love when he'd move on top of me. They clouded with an other worldliness when he made his music. They screamed his pain when he caught me with Xander. They wept when he left me after he killed Verruca. When he came back after our farewells, after I had chosen Tara over him, those eyes were like bits of jet, cold and hard. For a moment, I worried about his dead look but then he warmed.

I should have listened to my first impressions. Eyes were my big thing. I had always loved them, trusted them. They were my favorite part about Xander, firing my girlhood dreams of him. Oz's curious eyes were what first drew me to him. Giles' eyes betrayed his emotions, making him more human, more fatherly. Tara's eyes spoke of gentleness and love. I treasured the mirrors of the soul.

When he came back a second time, Oz didn't want to talk in the dorm, too many ears to overhear. Thinking there might be more screaming about Tara, I agreed to go on a walk. There are some wonderful wooden areas on campus, romantic, pretty. I thought it might put Oz at ease.

It seemed like it had. He talked about old times as if he were remembering them from a space of decades and not just months. It felt like there was some horrible gulf between us, and that he thought I was the one who made it. Wasn't he the one who left me crying? Wasn't he the one who just cut and ran? How dare he blame me for finding someone new?

But he wasn't much for accusations. His voice went soft like rose petals as he caressed my hands, kissing their knuckles, telling me how beautiful they were. For me, it's eyes. For Oz, it's hands. I hadn't ever known he had noticed hands, before tonight. I thought it was sweet. I told him so and he smiled this little sad smile.

I thought it was all going to be all right until he told me my hands were 'his' hands, that they belonged to him, should be reserved for pleasuring him, comforting him, loving him. I had seen Oz become the wolf before but never as fast as this last time.

His jaws were on my throat before I could think of screaming. My knees exploded in fire as ligaments stretched and tore, unable to withstand the full weight of a werewolf on top of me. The pain in my throat, the feel of fang through flesh didn't last long. I died Buffy's death, a Slayer's death, cut down by a demon I had loved.

It took a while to understand what had happened to me. I felt detached, watching him grab my right wrist in his strong jaws and shake it like a dog with a toy. I knew it should hurt but I felt nothing, not even when my hand came off. He did the same to the left hand and then turned back to the human young man I had loved.

He didn't cry. He didn't even seem upset and that hurt, even more than dying. My Oz was gone and all that was left was the beast. I had done this to him. I had led him into this darkness. He licked the blood from his face and tried to rearrange his tattered clothing. Jeans weren't meant to contain the shifting of forms.

He went through my clothes and came up with my dorm keys. He wrapped my hands in my bloody shirt and left me lying in the bushes like I was nothing. I tried to scream at him but he didn't hear me, or was ignoring me. He looked over his shoulder once or twice as if he heard me but that could have been simply nerves wearing on Oz. He went into my room, put on my jogging pants and t-shirt. It was a tight fit but Oz was small. He could get away with it.

He stowed my hands in with the musical equipment and drove off in his van. Hours passed by, taking me further into the heart of America than I had ever been while I was alive. I hadn't seen a white light when I died. I hadn't felt a pull to anywhere, heaven or hell. Instead I felt bound to follow Oz. He shouldn't be taking my hands away.

I hadn't ever been a very good Jew. My parents bought me tickets to the high holidays, gave me my bas mitzvah but that was as far as it went. Still, in the back of my ghostly mind was the thoughts that my body wasn't all together, it wouldn't be in the ground in twenty-four hours even if someone stumbled on it. Buffy on patrol would be the one to find it, I didn't doubt. I felt a strange panic at the disrespect shown to my beliefs and it was almost funny in a sick sense. I was more worried about that than I was about being dead. There was nothing I could do about either.

Or perhaps I could. I was beginning to understand. I wasn't just dead. I was a dybbuk, a wandering soul attached to the living. I remembered the tales I had found in Giles' books about them, stuff far more interesting than anything I would have heard in the synagogue. I could control the person I was attached to.

Oz was mumbling about finding ways of preserving my hands. I would whisper in his ear how to do it. He needed to keep them, as proof. Slowly I would work on him. Let him drive for now. Soon enough, he would crack. I would make him. He would confess. Xander, Buffy, Tara and Giles would wail and cry at the news. I would be avenged. So I rode on into the sunrise with the man I once loved, my severed hands hidden in his van. Soon the dybbuk would have her day and until then, I could be patient. I would remember his eyes and the love they once held. I needed to remember his loving eyes, stabilizing myself on that memory because maybe even dybbuks could go insane.