Chapter 6: Istanbul

Willow and Oz meet again, "It was stupid of me to think you'd just be waiting."
"I was waiting. I feel like some part of me will always be waiting for you. Like, if I'm old and blue-haired and I turn the corner in Istanbul and there you are- I won't be surprised. Because you're with me- you know?"
Following one-shot inspired by that quote. Assume S8 comic never happened – think more Watchers Series… set when Willow is about 65.

Willow Rosenberg was tired. So very, very tired. But she was still here, still fighting… even if she wasn't quite as athletic as she used to be. Oh, who was she kidding, she was never athletic. At least now she had a reason to look like a big spaz when she ran. Not that she looked old – here's the thing about a decade of magic abuse, it leaves you kinda… eternally youthful. Willow had dabbled in the black arts enough to strip her of some of her humanity. Turns out, the bit she stripped was the bit the caused her to age. Now, at sixty-five, she didn't look a day over 25. But for someone who had done so much in her life, she had surprisingly little to show for it. Here she was, the world's most powerful witch and only demons knew her name. She was still the side-kick of the longest (and second longest) living slayers in history. She had never even really found love. Sure, she'd had a few brief relationships since things fell through with her and Kennedy, but none of them had really lasted. There'd been that lovely young potential… they'd been together for nearly a year. Then there was Rowena… Willow was quite sure that Rowena could have been the love she was looking for, but just like the last time she found someone she thought she couldn't live without, she had to watch the woman die in her arms. That was Willow's life, a vicious cycle of love, happiness, death and pain. She'd even dated a guy for a little while there – and rapidly found out that she so didn't like that. Tara had officially made her a breast-gal for life. Tara. Tara Maclay was the best thing that had ever happened to Willow, hands down. She'd loved Tara more than anything, Tara had been her everything, her entire world, her soulmate. Willow was quite sure that was why she'd never really found true happiness romantically. How could she, when she'd found the one person in the world who was perfect for her? Sure, Oz had come close to that, Rowena even closer, but Tara? Tara blew them both out of the water. But after everything, the deaths of loved ones, the destruction of her town, spending every one of the 65 years she'd been alive living on hellmouths, she was still standing. And what's more, she was still standing with Buffy and Xander by her side. And her daughter. She still had her daughter.

Willow trailed her fingers along the sandstone wall, feeling the magic just waiting to burst forth, smiling at the sensation, but not giving herself the release she so craved. It had taken her 21 years of practising magic, but at the age of 37, in the arms of her lover as she gave birth to her child, she'd finally learned to control her own power. She'd learned to control it because, at that moment, she realised that she'd go to the ends of the Earth to make sure that the baby girl she clutched in her arms never came into harm's way. Now, another 28 years on, she still had that control and it was wonderful. But she couldn't waste her power frivolously now anyway, she was here in Istanbul for a reason. She was here to close a hellmouth, and she needed her power at full potency to do that. But still, sight-seeing first. She was walking around the dusty streets, enjoying the warm summer breeze and the spicy scents of local cuisine. She suddenly stopped, every one of her spidey-senses tingling. There was an energy near her, a powerful one. What's more, she knew the energy, she felt connected to it… she slowly walked round the corner of the large, sandstone building, tucking her red-hair behind her ears to allow for better hearing – and she saw him. Before her stood an elderly man, with white hair and green eyes. He had a soft, almost sardonic smile on his face as he looked at her and even now, still had his guitar slung over his back. Willow's energy reached out, but suddenly fell back, realising that she didn't have to. He was already with her.

"I'm not surprised," she murmured quietly.

"You're not supposed to be," he replied.

"Oh, Oz!" She threw herself into his arms. He caught her, hugging her tightly and both of them felt tears come to their eyes. She pulled back, looking at him seriously, "come back to my place, please. I want to talk,"

"Of course," he obliged, giving her a light kiss on the cheek. Willow felt the familiar sparkage deep in her belly and sighed, suddenly feeling more content that she had in years.

"So, I have to ask, what's your secret?" Oz was clutching a steaming mug of coffee. Willow hadn't even had to ask how he liked it, she still remembered.


"Yeah, c'mon, you must use some pretty damn fancy wrinkle cream."

Willow laughed, but then looked guiltily into her lap. "Many years of magic abuse… they kinda stacked up. I don't age. Never will. I'm immortal until someone kills me. Same as Buffy and Faith, actually. Did you know that? When slayers reach their physical peak, at like 28, they just stop aging. Only, no-one ever knew that because, well, Slayers never live past like 25. Well, until we did the activation spell. Now there's like 250 active slayers in the world at any one time… which is like totally cool, because, hey, got time to go on holidays. Not that I'm on holidays… official business actually, Istanbul's all hellmouth-y and…" she looked up at Oz with a grin. "And I'm babbling. I'm sorry."

Oz stared at her, stunned. Willow was immortal? Holy crap. "So you like, did a spell…?"

"Not exactly, the amount of dark magic I did kind of acted like a preservative. We didn't figure it out until I was in my forties though, and I was still looking, well… in my twenties."

Oz nodded. He really was back on a hellmouth. "And everyone else?"

"Buffy and Faith are really living it up – all coupley and what not. It took about seven years, but they're together now and happy as anything. Xander, well," Willow giggled, "Xander and Dawn got married back in 2012," she looked at her coffee. "We tried to send you a wedding invite, but we didn't know where to…" she just shrugged. "Same with the funeral invite," she added. "For Giles."

Oz nodded, though he knew the old Watcher couldn't still be alive, he still felt the tears stinging.

"And you?" Oz asked quietly. "I haven't heard anything about you since, God, 2002… The year Tara…"

Willow nodded quickly. "I've had a few relationships, but nothing that really lasted. Except Rowena, I loved her. I loved her so damn much. But hey, every time that happens they die in my arms right? But I had a daughter, with Ro."

"How?" Oz laughed.

"Magic," Willow replied. "We decided we wanted a baby, so we used magic." Willow pulled a picture from her bag, "she's 28 now, can you believe? Her name's Leah. I uh, I named her after Tara's mother."

"She's beautiful Will. Looks just like you."

Willow nodded, smiling. "What about you?"

"Ah, eternally in bachelordom."

"I knew I'd see you again, Oz. When Rowena died… I so desperately tried to find you. I was just so scared… I was so scared you were dead. There are only three people I've ever truly loved, and that's you, Tara and Rowena. Tara and Rowena, they both died in my arms. I was so scared that I wouldn't ever even get that with you. But now you're here. So warm, and alive and here… so here… and alive…" Willow threw herself into his arms, sending their empty coffee cups flying. "Oh Oz, I'm so, so glad I found you."

"Well, you predicted it," he said gently. "The very last time we spoke, you said that one day, you'd turn a corner in Istanbul and I'd be there. And here I am Will." He wrapped his arms around the – well, she was an old woman, but she didn't look it – girl and kissed the top of her head. She looked up at him for confirmation, before leaning in and capturing his lips in hers. This wasn't about comfort or sex or even attraction. It was about love. It was about Willow getting to share a moment with the first man she'd ever loved and know that, without a shadow of a doubt, he accept her. He deepened the kiss, letting their tongue duel first in his mouth, then in hers. This was a dance choreographed long ago, but they still knew it well. They'd never really forgotten.

"You were always with me, Oz," Willow murmured, breaking the embrace. "I loved, and I lost, but you still had a place in my heart. You always will."

"Willow, I-I moved on," he said gently, "but I don't think I ever really stopped loving you."

"Come outside," she whispered, biting teasingly on his earlobe.

It was dark out now and they walked hand-in-hand into the moonlight. She looked up expectantly at the sky, grinning childishly at the huge, round orb of the full moon.

"Exactly 46 years ago, you came back to Sunnydale and tried to win my heart back," she whispered, lacing their fingers together tightly. "Exactly 46 years ago, Oz. It's why I came to Istanbul now, at this time of the year. I wanted to see you Oz, and I felt like the part inside of me that's always waited for you was awakening. I knew that if I came on the anniversary of your return to Sunnydale I'd see you. 46 years ago today, we parted ways for the last time."

"For the last time?" Oz asked, squeezing her fingers.

"We're not parting again, Oz." She said quietly. "I love you, maybe not the same way I used to. But I love you, I love your heart, Oz. I know that we'll never be together romantically, but yours in a friendship I can't bear to lose."

"You know you'll lose it sometime though," he murmured. "Willow, you're immortal. The most powerful and most feared witch in the world."

"And until then, I'm not leaving your side. Oz, it's not going to happen to me again. It just… it can't. I can't lose the only person left in the world that I've been in love with."

"You won't," he whispered. Oz leaned in, kissing her passionately again, this time, hands were everywhere, in hair, on butts, waists… Oz found his hands gently massaging Willow's breasts through her top, her hand stroking the bulge in his trousers. But it still wasn't sexual. It was release, for both of them. This moment was releasing them from their pasts, opening up their futures. Oz's hand found its way under Willow's skirt, stroking the wet gusset of her panties. She moaned into his mouth, feeling an enormous comfort in the familiarity of these actions. It wasn't the raw, passionate sex she'd shared with Tara, nor the tender, emotional side of her relationship with Rowena. It wasn't the animalistic was she'd fucked Kennedy or the gentle way she'd made love to Vi. It wasn't even the pure sexual pleasure she'd sought from Xander after her breakup with Kennedy. It was release, pure and simple. Release and closure, for the years that they couldn't have.

"Please," Willow ground out, biting down on Oz's shoulder. It was the only request he needed as he pulled her panties away from her skin and entered her in a swift stroke. She moaned into his kiss, feeling for the first time in years, completely filled. His thrusts were slow and gentle as he held her up against the wall, kissing her and touching her, wanting so desperately to crawl inside her. The moonlight bathed them in a soft, white light and Willow could feel herself drawing power from it, releasing her own essence into the night to mix with Oz's. He thrust harder as she cried out, feeling her contracting around him as she came with a scream and a shudder and she felt his seed running down the inside of her thigh. Neither of them could speak, still interlocked and holding each other, hoping that the moment would never end. Suddenly, she felt Oz stiffen his hold on her and she opened her eyes to see his eyes wide and shocked. He slid out of her and dropped to the ground, blood spreading steadily across his chest.

"You don't deserve him, Willow Rosenberg, you don't deserve anything!" Amy Madison wiped her knife on her jeans, before turning and disappearing into the night. Willow dropped to her knees, pulling Oz into her arms, desperately trying to kiss life back into his shuddering form. He looked up at her, their green eyes meeting as tears flowed between them.

"Don't listen to her, Willow Danielle Rosenb-" he stopped himself, looking into her eyes, "Willow Danielle, Atkinson, Maclay, Osbourne…" He reached a shaking hand out to her. "You deserve everything, the entire world. I love you."

And Willow sobbed as she watched the life ebb out of the first man she'd ever loved as she held him, watched as the light vanished from his eyes and all that was left was the milky reflection of the full moon.

Oh… sad :( If you want me to throw another PWP on the end to lighten it, just drop me a line. I depressed myself. Now needing of vicarious smoochies…