Summary: Sometimes it's the little things that have the biggest consequences.
Disclaimer: I claim no ownership over these characters. I am merely borrowing them from Joss et al.
Distribution: My site, the usual lists, anyone with previous permission. Anyone else - just ask.
Feedback: Yes please! It makes me happy and keeps me writing.
Author's Note #1: This story was inspired by a vignette written by aaronlisa, and has been written with her permission to expand on it. (Alternate Realities: Willow #2)
Author's Note #2: I played around with the timeline a bit during Season 2 for this story. Pretend that Willow and Oz had been dating for a month or so when Phases occurs. (Dialogue borrowed from both Phases and Becoming I & II courtesy of www.buffyworld.com)
Author's Note #3: Thank you to my tireless betas for holding my hand through the months it has taken me to write this story.
Willow ran all the way home, clutching Spike's coat around her naked body. She ran to get away from the vampire and his theories. She ran to the safety of her home. She ran in order to get clothed and get some answers from Oz.
When she reached her house, Willow realized that she didn't have her keys with her. The front door was locked, so she obviously hadn't left that way last night. She moved around to the back of the house and breathed a sigh of relief that her balcony doors were open. Climbing the trellis was harder than she remembered, but that could have been because she was barefoot and her feet hurt from running around the woods and streets without shoes.
Willow was shocked at the state of her room when she got inside. Her clothes from yesterday were torn to shreds and strewn about the floor. Although, it looked like some pieces had to be missing. She had no idea how she was going to explain to her parents about the shattered lock on the door.
'Well, duh,' Willow told herself, 'the clothes must have gotten ripped when you were all shape-shifting into a werewolf!'
Willow shook her head at that crazy notion and slipped out of Spike's coat, heading for the shower. Maybe after she was warm and clean, she'd realize it was all some kind of horrible nightmare.
Clothed and with her feet bandaged, Willow left for school, not realizing that it was a good hour before she usually got there. She needed answers, and what better place to find them than at the library?
Pushing open one of the double doors, Willow was shocked to find Buffy, Xander and Giles in various stages of pacing, sleeping and researching.
"Hey guys, what's everyone doing here so early?" she asked.
Three heads shot up and before Willow knew it, she was being crushed by Buffy's hug. Xander soon joined in, once he realized that her standing there wasn't a dream.
"I'm happy to see you too," Willow said, trying to pull out of their embrace. "Um guys, if you needed me for research, all you had to do was ask," she joked.
"Willow, we were so worried," Buffy exclaimed, taking a step back, pulling Xander with her. "I went to your house last night, as planned, and found your balcony doors open, your clothes torn, and you were gone. I thought the worst… that Angelus had you."
Willow's eyes grew large. She had completely forgotten that she was supposed to meet Buffy last night. For obvious reasons, she was a little preoccupied this morning.
"Nope, not kidnapped," she agreed, but didn't want to admit to what had really happened.
"I tried calling Oz, even went to his house, but he was AWOL too. His parents didn't seem very concerned though."
"He had band practice last night, remember," Willow suggested. Internally, she was wondering if he was a werewolf last night too.
"Oh, right, I forgot," Buffy admitted.
"But that's not the worst of it," Xander spoke up. "I was… out last night, and we were attacked by a giant dog. If I hadn't known better, I would have thought it was a werewolf," he laughed a little hysterically.
Willow paled. She'd attacked Xander? "Oh God, Xander. Are you okay? I'm so sorry."
"Aside from a little freaked about nearly being dog chow and then finding out my best friend was probably kidnapped by the worst vampire in history, I'm fine."
"Willow, what are you doing here so early?" Giles carefully asked after having quietly observed the interaction between the teenagers. While he was greatly relieved to see Willow alive and well, some of her comments, along with her early presence in the library, had him a little concerned.
"I, um, I…" she trailed off, not knowing how to explain her bizarre morning.
"What happened to you last night?" Xander asked his own question.
Just then, Oz burst into the library, his eyes immediately finding Willow and pulling her into his arms, and away from Xander.
"You're okay," he breathed into her hair before pulling back enough to hungrily kiss her.
When he finally released her lips, Willow quietly said, "I think we need to talk, in private."
"Agreed," he said, then realized that they had an audience.
"Um, Giles, can we use your office for a little while? Just to talk, I promise," Willow hurriedly added.
Looking between Willow and Oz, he figured that it would be best to let them resolve whatever was going on. Hopefully then the rest of them could be clued in as to what was happening.
"Of course," he smiled.
Willow pulled Oz into the office and closed the door, much to Buffy's annoyance and Xander's relief.
"What'd you do that for?" Buffy turned on her watcher. "She was about to spill the beans."
"Yeah," Xander eloquently agreed.
"I thought it best to let them discuss the matter first. From the looks in their eyes, I believe that they each hold a piece to this puzzle. Once they have it sorted out, they will be better able to share it with us."
"Oh," Buffy pouted. She sat back down at the table and proceeded to glare at the closed office door.
Inside the office, Willow was kissing her boyfriend. It was like yesterday; now that they were together, they could barely keep their hands off of each other.
Abruptly pulling back, she exclaimed, "Talk! We need to talk."
"I know," Oz agreed. This morning he'd woken up in the woods, naked, with no idea of how he'd gotten there. The last thing he remembered was getting ready to go to meet his band-mates, then feeling the moon rise, and then nothing.
After he'd gone home and gotten dressed, his thoughts had immediately turned to Willow. In all honesty, he'd been thinking of her since waking up, after realizing where he was. He'd gone to her house and found her tattered clothing on the floor, but a wet towel on her bed. Finding her book bag missing, he assumed correctly that she'd gone to school early.
"I'll go first," Willow started, pulling Oz from his thoughts. "So, um, how long have you been a werewolf?"
"A what?" he asked, a hint of amusement in his voice. She sounded so serious that it would have been impolite to laugh outright.
"A werewolf. How long have you been one?" Willow repeated.
"What makes you think I'm a… werewolf?"
"Because I was one last night. And you're the only person who's," she whispered the next part, "bitten me lately."
"Wait a minute, I haven't bitten…" Much like Willow had done just a short time ago, Oz suddenly remembered accidentally biting her tongue while kissing her.
"When were you going to tell me?" Willow nervously asked, her voice sounding pained at what she implied was his distrust.
"I didn't know," Oz quietly admitted. He stared at his finger, the one that until this morning had been sporting a bandage. "Jordy?" he whispered.
"What's your cousin have to do with this?" Willow asked. Her eyes followed Oz's to his finger and her eyes suddenly widened. "You think when Jordy bit you he made you a werewolf?"
"That's the only thing I can think of," Oz said. "He's the only… person who has bitten me."
They were both quiet for several minutes, each thinking about how something so meaningless at the time could be so life-altering.
"How did you know?" Oz asked.
"Know? Know what?" Willow questioned.
"How did you know you were a werewolf last night? Do you remember it? 'Cause I have no memories of last night. Although I did wake up naked in the forest," he admitted.
Willow blushed slightly at the mention of Oz and nakedness. "Uh, no. Last night is pretty much a blank. Someone, um, kinda found me… naked in the forest this morning. He saw me change back."
"He?" Oz virtually growled. Rage and jealousy reared their ugly heads at the thought of some man seeing his mate naked. Wait, mate?
"Yeah." Willow wanted to curse herself for saying so much. But she knew she had to tell him the whole truth. "Actually, it was Spike." She winced in preparation for his reaction.
"Spike!" Oz yelled, causing the heads out in the library to lift and look towards the office. Only Giles' hand on Buffy's arm and a shake of his head kept her from barging in on them.
"Shhh," Willow tried to calm her boyfriend. "I know. I don't know why he moved me, but he did. I didn't even know he could walk again. But I woke up in this cave in the woods shortly after dawn and he was sitting there, smoking. Guess he stayed out past bedtime."
"Did he hurt you? Try to take advantage of you in any way?" He was barely able to ask this last question. "Did he bite you?" The thought of anyone else biting his girl was infuriating.
"No. He didn't do anything except give me his coat and tell me I was a werewolf. I didn't want to believe him, but why else would I be sleeping naked in the woods with no memory of how I got there, and have torn clothes on my bedroom floor?"
Willow was nearly hysterical by now, so Oz pulled her into his arms. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to sound all jealous. But he's a vampire, he can't be trusted."
"I know," Willow sniffled. "Unfortunately, what he said makes the most sense. And how weird is that?"
"Very," Oz agreed.
"Do you think…" Willow began in a small voice. "Do you think Giles knows of a cure for lycanthropy?"
"I sure hope so. I can't imagine having to become an animal one night a month, forever."
They started to head back to the main room. "And here I thought that tonight was the full moon, not last night," Willow observed.