If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
by Mosca

Willow found the flyer duct-taped to a traffic light post near the train station when they got back from their day trip to Bruges. The guy in the picture, second from the right, looked like Oz, but the duct tape made her sure it was him. She thought of tearing the flyer off and keeping it, but it occurred to her that other people might want to hear him and his new band play. She took a pen and a pad of paper out of her shoulder bag and wrote down directions.

Dawn squinted at the flyer. "Cool!" she said. "It's in a bar. I think. It's not exactly a word they teach you in French class."

"And that's why you're not going," Buffy said.

"You're not going to leave me in the hotel room all alone while you guys go out and have fun," Dawn said.

Buffy looked hopefully at Willow, but Willow was busy copying the little map at the bottom of the flyer. And being quietly certain that she would not negotiate on the opportunity to see Oz after so long, so far.

"No," Buffy said, "I'm going to take you out to a non-bar fun thing."

So after dinner, Willow hailed a taxi and showed the driver the address of the bar. It was funny, how vampires and demons had ceased to be all that scary, but it was still terrifying to go alone to a bar in a foreign country.

There was freedom, though, in being alone. Kennedy was still in Paris, for all she knew. With her tongue on the clit of half of Paris, for all she cared.

She was early, and the bar was mostly empty. She found an empty table near the stage and ordered a beer. Belgian beer was smooth and honeyish, and she sipped from the huge glass while she doodled in the pad of paper she kept in her shoulder bag. Oz's band was on first: big heavy-browed guy singing incomprehensibly, but Oz on guitar, staring down at his strings for two songs, then seeing her, quirking an eyebrow, spending the rest of the set looking right at her.

The bartender came up to her a few minutes after the set ended. "Your friend, who plays the guitar, has invited you to the backstage," he said, like he had been rehearsing his English grammar. He walked her there, shut the door behind her.

The backstage area wasn't very big, and Oz stood in front of her like he thought he might be supposed to give her a hug. "Hi," Willow said.

"Hi," Oz said.

"Buffy and Dawn and I are backpacking through Europe," she said. "Or actually, wheeling little suitcases. Through Europe. And I found your flyer, and here I am."

"I met a German werewolf in Nepal and crashed with him in Hamburg after our tourist visas expired," Oz said. "He was friends with the drummer. And... here I am."

It was late, and there were no taxis, and she walked with him to his hotel, which was in the neighborhood. The white stairwells smelled like pot. "So," Oz said, sitting down on the bed, "still gay?"

"Looks that way," Willow said. She watched him take off his boots and remembered how she used to love him so much she could feel it in her spine. And it didn't really look that way anymore. "I left my girlfriend in Paris," she said. "Ex-girlfriend. Now."

"Oh," Oz said. "You seemed so... when I saw you together."

"No," Willow said. "Not Tara. She-- she didn't-- she--"

"I'm sorry," Oz said. And when he hugged her, it was to comfort her, and when she kissed him, it was to comfort herself. "Thought you were still gay," he said.

"I've been wrong before," she said. She didn't know why he kept kissing her, and she doubted he could have given her a reason. Touching his body was like looking at old yearbook pictures.

"You smell like I remember," he said. He found the drummer's supply of condoms. He felt like she'd forgotten: not like fingers, but all at once, and like skin even through the latex. He pressed his thumb into the spot on her clit that always got her there, the compromise they'd found. He was still gentle, still unconsciously pressed the ball of his foot into her leg.

She daydreamed while she held him afterward of following his band around Europe, sitting at tables in bars with her pad of paper and her little suitcase. It seemed scarier than witchcraft. "At the end of the summer," she told him, "I'm going to Spain. To study with a witch there."

"We haven't played in Spain yet," Oz said. "Maybe we will."

"I'll try to make friends with people who own bars," she said.

"All right," he said. She didn't know what else she would have wanted him to say, but she wanted something more. Wished he would just laugh. And knew what it meant when people said they'd grown apart from other people.

There were no taxis, but the guy at the front desk of Oz's hotel had a sister with a car, and the sister with the car drove Willow to the other side of town. The sister wouldn't let Willow pay her, even for gas, but she agreed to stop for food. When Willow paid for chicken-in-a-pita for both of them, the sister slipped her name and phone number into Willow's shoulder bag. "Mostly gay," Willow said to herself. "Mostly gay."


Silverlake: Authors / Mediums / Titles / Links / List / About / Updates / Silverlake Remix