TITLE: Take Me: Take Two 7-A/?
SUMMARY: This takes place during the episode Wild At Heart. I've taken some liberties with what Veruca is so that this works for me.
A/N: Thanks to janedavitt for the beta.
The only reason Willow had gotten excited that a new band was in town was the chance to dance with Oz. Instead of dancing though, she was watching the band. "She's really good," Willow said.
Oz just asked, "Are we dancing?"
"Not that you aren't good, you're good in a different way!" Willow said. Her face felt red. She was doing it again, being dorky. It was like with Miss Calendar and when she first saw Buffy all over again. It was just because Veruca was so un-Willow-like; she was up on stage singing and being sexy. Willow could never do that and it looked like Veruca was staring right at her! It tugged at Willow deep inside.
Buffy said, "Earth to Willow, are you all right?"
It occurred to her as she watched Veruca sway to the music that maybe this attraction was something different. Now that she'd named it attraction, she wondered if the giddy admiration for women like Jenny Calendar hadn't always been something different. "No. Sorry, I mean yes! I was woolgathering but I'm stopping that now to dance with my boyfriend."
They were just about to leave the table when Giles and Anya arrived. "Giles, what are you doing here?" Buffy asked. "Is there trouble?"
"Um, not as such."
"We're spying for the adults," Anya confided in a stage whisper. This got Willow's attention. "We're not spying on you, guys. Giles already knows what you guys get up to. For young people who fight vampires, your lives are kind of boring."
Xander said, "You've got a point about the dullness, Anya; things never change around here."
"I like it that the Bronze stays the same," Willow said. "With everything else changing so fast it's like a comfy blanket."
"I thought that was me," Oz said.
"You're my people blanky." Willow blushed again; did that sound romantic or just juvenile? Why did it suddenly feel like her skin didn't fit anymore?
Giles asked, "Would anyone care for mocha? My treat."
"You rock, Giles." Xander said.
Anya nodded. "Frequently, most often when he's naked."
Giles' grin turned slightly smug looking but before he could say anything Buffy chimed in desperately, "In the shower, right? Anya told me you sing there a lot. Just forget I said that and get me a decaf, please."
Giles took everyone's request, then he and Anya headed back to the bar hand in hand. When they were gone, Buffy asked the group, "Do you think they'll still be like that once the new wears off?"
Xander said, "I think we're out of luck, Buff. They're even sort of like that when they fight. I've seen it with my own eyes."
Willow danced to a couple of songs with Oz but she couldn't seem to focus on him. The sound of Veruca's voice kept drawing her eyes to the band. It was really strange, because Willow wasn't very musical. She liked to be there for Oz but she had to make herself listen to the Dingoes sometimes. When they were seated again she barely noticed when Giles handed her a drink.
"She does have a remarkable stage presence," Giles said, looking at the way Willow was looking at Veruca a little too closely for her comfort.
Oz asked, "Are you here to spy on Shy?"
"Why would you think so?" Giles asked.
"Veruca seems nice, but something about her raises my hackles."
"I'm simply doing a favor for her uncle. Rob is considering loaning the band money for new equipment. He wanted me to come and see Shy perform, so I could give him an idea of how serious they are about their music."
"Because the singing in the shower makes you so well qualified," Buffy said.
"I don't know about that," Xander said. "Giles would know if she'd sold her soul to learn to play the guitar, right?"
"Would that be a mark in favor of the loan or against it, honey?" Anya asked.
Giles appeared to consider this. "Well, strictly from the financial point of view, it would depend on the demon that was raised."
When everyone looked at the pair strangely, Anya said, "Neither of us said it was wise to sacrifice your soul or even a small furry animal in exchange for artistic talent or money. We just said it could be done."
Giles said, "It's far more likely that the would-be rock star allows a demon a foothold in this dimension and then gets burnt to a cinder."
"Most of those guys are just looking for a sacrifice to open a portal," Anya explained.
Willow said, "Like those e-mails that say you've won the British lottery."
"So the Robert Johnson story?" Oz asked.
Giles said, "Well, some of the talent in this world has to be a blessing instead of a curse."
Anya nodded. "Most demon-bestowed talent comes with a non-disclosure clause and he bragged about the devil."
Willow was about to ask who Robert Johnson was when the set ended and Veruca came right to their table.
"Hi, Oz." Veruca said.
"It was okay. Are you going to introduce me to everybody?" She'd asked Oz but she was looking straight at Willow.
It was hard to tell with Oz but he seemed a little growly when he introduced her to Veruca. Willow guessed it was because she was acting a little starstruck. So what if Veruca wasn't famous; everyone thought she was talented. There was no reason Willow couldn't be a fan or, better yet, a friend.
The next evening was the night before the full moon. Oz had told Willow he could lock himself up because Willow wanted to check out the campus Wicca meeting. She was on her way there when she saw Veruca in the hall.
"Oh, hi. It's Willow, remember me?"
"I don't think I could forget you."
"Really?" Willow asked. That wasn't something she heard about herself often.
Veruca nodded. "So, you're on your own tonight? No entourage? No Oz?"
"Oz has a thing."
Veruca smiled. " I figured. If you want to know what it's like I can show you how."
"What?" Willow asked startled.
"The call of the wild. It is the reason Oz never plays when the moon is full, right?" Veruca whispered in Willow's ear, "You've got talent. I can tell you'd be good at it."
A shiver ran through her and Willow didn't know if she wanted to move closer to Veruca or run away. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"Relax, I wasn't planning to bite you. I'm a shifter, not a lycanthrope. I can show you how, it'll open up a whole new world for you. Give you some insight into what it's like for Oz when he's not with you."
"So it's magic, not possession?" Willow asked considering it, "So I'd still be me, just wolfy me?" It did sound tempting to be something so different for a while and knowing how to transform like that might help her to de-rat Amy… "What if I couldn't change back?"
"I like you a lot, Willow. I promise not to let anything bad happen to you. It'll be great, you'll see."
"I don't know," Willow said.
"Please, I'm usually a lone wolf, but it would be nice to share this with someone." The vulnerability this revealed touched Willow.
"You promise we won't hurt anybody?"
"I swear, it'll just be a little run in the moonlight." Veruca crossed her heart, "The spell wears off on its own in the morning. You're going to love this!"