Title: Waiting Through the Pain
Author: Elisabeth
Email: dragonydreams@yahoo.com
Website: http://www.dragonydreams.com
Rating: U
Summary: Willow misses Oz to Coldplay's "In My Place" - complete angst.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al. The song "In My Place" belongs to Coldplay.
Spoilers/Timeline: after 'Something Blue'
Distribution: Me, WLS, Wic, ODD, NHA, anyone else - please ask.
Feedback: Yes please.
Author's Note: This is in response to Wic's July (Songfic) Challenge.

In my place, in my place,
Were lines that I couldn't change,
I was lost, oh yeah.

I was lost, I was lost,
Crossed lines I shouldn't have crossed,
I was lost, oh yeah.

Yeah, how long must you wait for him?
Yeah, how long must you pay for him?
Yeah, how long must you wait for him?

I was scared, I was scared,
Tired and underprepared,
But I wait for you.

If you go, if you go,
Leaving me here on my own,
Well I wait for you.

Yeah, how long must you wait for him?
Yeah, how long must you pay for him?
Yeah, how long must you wait for him?

Please, please, please,
Come on and sing to me,
To me, me.

Come on and sing it out, out, out.
Come on and sing it now, now, now.
Come on and sing it.

In my place, in my place,
Were lines that I couldn't change,
I was lost, oh yeah.
Oh yeah.


Willow sat in the bronze, minding the table while her friends enjoyed themselves on the dance floor. She couldn't bring herself to watch their happy contented faces as they swayed with their sweeties to the music.

Instead she watched the ice melting in her soda. She idly moved the cubes around with her cocktail straw, which seemed pretty pointless to add to a soft drink. The cubes bumped against each other in the limited space of the glass, melting under the carbonation surrounding them. Much like the people out on the dance floor, Willow mused. Dance floor… dancing… couples… Oz… alone.

Willow choked back a sob and tried to change the direction her thoughts were taking her, again. She was here to have fun after all. Fun. The concept seemed completely foreign to her. She couldn't even remember the last time she had had fun. Buffy and Xander were trying so hard to make things better for her, but they couldn't. They should know better. At least Buffy should – she'd had to run away after that thing with Angel. At least Willow didn't have to leave Sunnydale; Oz had done that for her.

She had to get out of there. This music was killing her. She grabbed her jacket and moved to the dance floor. After tapping incessantly on Buffy's shoulder for a minute or two Buffy finally pried her head off of Riley's shoulder to look at her. She noticed the jacket in Willow's hand.

"You going somewhere?"

"Yeah. I need to get out of here." The unshed tears were making her eyes bright but she told herself she wouldn't cry.

Buffy started to protest, but saw the look of abject misery in her friend's face and held her tongue. Instead she requested, "Can you at least ask Giles to come get you? I don't want you out alone at night, especially with everything that's going on."

Willow look horrified with the thought of calling Giles like she was some small defenseless child. Then she reminded herself that that's exactly what she was. She nodded her head and went in search of a phone.

Willow took a deep breath and dialed Giles' number. After a couple of rings he answered, "Hello?"

"Hi Giles." She tried to keep her voice calm, but wasn't doing a very good job of it.

"Willow, what's wrong? Where are you?" Even with the loud music in the background he could still hear the emotion in her voice.

"Bronze. I'm here with Buffy and Xander," she started, then mumbled, "and Anya and Riley."

"Ah. I take it you're not enjoying the night as much as they are."

"Uh, yeah. Do you think you could come and get me? I told Buffy I wanted to leave, but she didn't want me out all alone."

"Of course. I'm leaving now. Give me 15 minutes before you leave the building, alright?"

"That's fine. Thank you Giles."

"Think nothing of it my dear. I'll be there shortly."

Willow hung up the phone and leaned against the wall in the dimly lit hallway. She dreaded going back out there to wait for Giles. She closed her eyes against the images of her friends dancing. She didn't know how long she stood there, but the music had changed to a fast, upbeat song, completely at odds with her mood. At least before she matched the music. Now she felt even more out of place.

She checked her watch – 10 more minutes. Willow heaved a sigh and pushed herself off the wall and back into the main room. She started heading back to the table she had been sitting at before, but saw her friends sitting there. She took another halting step, then paused. She knew that if she went back over to them she'd have to pretend to be 'happy Willow' or at least not 'depressed Willow'. She shook her head and veered towards the bar instead.

By the time she reached the bar Willow only had another five minutes to wait. She looked around wondering what she could do for five minutes. She took a seat at the bar and reached for the bowl of nuts. She dumped a small pile onto the counter and began moving them around with her fingers. The bartender gave her funny look, but she wasn't looking at him. She wasn't looking at anything but the space on the counter in front of her. The nuts seemed to be moving in a random pattern, until they started to form letters. Two letters to be specific… O Z. Willow blinked at the letters, not even realizing what she had been doing.

Willow jumped off her stool, nearly falling in her haste, and ran for the door, praying that Giles would be there. She wrenched the door open, taking deep gulping breaths of fresh air. She frantically looked about and spotted the Citroen pulling up. She ran to meet him, yanking the door open and falling into the car before it had stopped completely.

"Get me out of here," she practically wailed.

"Of course." One look at Willow told Giles to avoid any attempt at conversation.

Willow sat with her face buried in her hands as the tears she had been holding in for the last hour finally let loose. She silently thanked whatever gods were listening that Giles wasn't trying to comfort her just now. She wouldn't have been able to take it.

It pained Giles to see and hear Willow so miserable. She had always been very sensitive, especially when it came to boys. He wanted nothing more than to thrash Oz for hurting her the way that he had. His latest heartlessness had killed any sympathy Giles had had for him. The least the boy could have done was inform Willow that he wouldn't be back any time soon himself, rather than allowing her to find his room empty. Idiotic, selfish, pillock.

While stopped at a light it occurred to Giles that he had no idea where he should take Willow. He glanced at her, but she still had her face buried in her hands.

"Willow," he softly queried and was acknowledged with a sniffle. "Do you want me to take you back to the dorm? Or did you want to go somewhere else?"

Willow thought about it for a moment. She didn't want to be alone right now. She turned a tear-streaked face to Giles. "Your place?"

"Alright," he smiled gently.

Willow answered with a tiny relieved smile of her own and sat back in her seat and closed her eyes.

The rest of the drive to the apartment was made in silence. Giles had offered to turn the radio on, but Willow had had enough music for the night. He was pleased that Willow seemed to have relaxed a bit by the time they pulled into his parking spot.

Willow excused herself to the bathroom as soon as they entered the apartment and Giles set about making tea.

She stared at her reflection in the mirror for a long time. She barely recognized the face staring back at her. Her eyes were red and puffy from crying. Her cheeks were smudged with make-up. Her skin was almost vampiric pale. That thought caused her to shiver. She splashed water on her face and headed back into the living room.

Giles was sitting in his chair with a cup of tea and a book opened on his lap. He looked up as Willow entered the room and hesitantly sat on the couch in front of the cup of tea he had made for her. She took a sip of the steaming liquid and settled back on the sofa with a contented sigh.

"Did you want to discuss what had you so upset?" Giles carefully asked, prepared to back off it Willow seemed too uncomfortable.

"Same old, same old," Willow replied, sounding completely deflated.

"Oz?" he guessed.

"Um-hm," she sniffled. "Can we not use his name, it might be easier."

"Of course. Especially if this means you're willing to discuss this."

"You don't want to hear it," she insisted.

"I wouldn't have offered if I didn't want to hear it. Why would you think that?"

"Because no one wants to hear about poor dumped Willow's problems anymore. They just want me to 'get over it' and be 'happy Willow' again."

Giles moved to sit next to Willow. "No one expects you to rush through your pain Willow. These things take time. I know that you don't want to hear that, but that doesn't change the fact that it's true. Your pain will lessen with time. The amount of time is dependent solely upon you, not on your friends nor their expectations."

"But how long is it going to take? I'm so tired of feeling this way. Everything I do reminds me of him."

"Especially being at the Bronze tonight?" Willow nodded. "Oh, Willow. Why torture yourself like that?"

"Do you know how to say 'No' to Buffy when she has her mind set on something?" Willow countered. Giles shook his head. "Neither do I."

"Did something specific happen at the Bronze tonight to upset you so?"

"Nothing spectacular. It's just… I was sitting all alone at the table watching Buffy and Riley dancing and Xander and Anya dancing. And the music was all slow and the lyrics kinda got to me. It was all about being alone, and lost, and waiting. It kinda hit home. Then while I was waiting for you I was sitting at the bar playing with the nuts and I accidentally spelled his name with the nuts. I didn't mean to, honest, it just happened. I'm lucky you arrived when you did."

"No wonder you burst into tears the second you were safely inside the car." Giles wrapped his arms around Willow in a comforting hug. "You can rest assured that I will be speaking with Buffy and Xander tomorrow. I will try to make them understand that perhaps the Bronze isn't a place that you should be just yet. Not if they are going to couple off like that, and not with all of the memories of… him… that are there."

"Thank you Giles," Willow squeezed him tighter. "Maybe they'll listen to you. They can't seem to believe it when I say that I'm not ready to be there now." She pulled back to look at him, "I mean, have they completely forgotten that that's where we used to watch Oz play?"

Despite himself, Giles chuckled at her outrage. "It's quite possible that they have. I will make a point of reminding them."

"Thank you. I think that will really help me to 'get over it' as everyone keeps insisting."

"Not everyone," he quietly reminded her.

Willow squeezed his hand, a genuine smile lighting her face. "You're right. You haven't been rushing me through my pain. Have I thanked you for that? I don't know what I'd do if I wasn't able to talk to you about this." Suddenly a thought struck her, "It doesn't bother you does it?"

"Does what bother me?"

"Me constantly crying on your shoulder, or in you car."

"Nonsense. I am glad that you are comfortable enough around me to be able to let go like that. Apparently you don't feel the need to restrain yourself from showing your true emotions around me like you do with Buffy and Xander."

"That's just cause I know you won't judge me for breaking down every five minutes. Not that I think the others are judgemental," she quickly backtracked. "But I guess they kinda are since I know they roll their eyes every time I start to look even remotely weepy."

"Never mind them. Willow, you take as much time to heal as you need. And if they continue to ignore your pain and efforts, then send them to me. Promise?"

"I promise." Willow hugged Giles again, knowing that from now on, life was going to be easier, and quite possibly, not going to end.

The End


Send Feedback

Back to Elisabeth's Stories