"I play some guitar," Oz said, sitting back in his patio chair, "Mostly for meditation."
"Crunchy loudness is very meditative," Willow said, and giggled.
"How come you don't have one?" Buffy asked Spike as she dabbed peroxide on his hand. "A guitar?"
"Dru--" he hissed at the sting, watched the white bubbles appear, "said it was property of the band and not mine to take."
"Harsh," Buffy said, and picked up the tube of Bacitracin.
"That is really harsh," Willow said. "How long were you two together? I probably shouldn't be bringing it up, but I'm so curious. And also, what's in this drink?"
"Looks like a lime," Oz said.
"Oh, because I like it."
"We were together almost six years. Since university."
"You went to--?" Buffy bit her tongue, and went back to wrapping his hand in bandage. "Nothing."
He arched a brow at her. "Cambridge, if you must know."
Buffy didn't hide her look of surprise. Edjamacated.
"Cambridge?" Willow repeated. "Wow. I'm going to Yale but I want to do an abroad in Cambridge or Oxford. I haven't decided. Ha, that sounded like 'do a broad'. I'm gonna go do a broad in Cambridge."
"Well, there are lots to choose from," Spike winked.
Willow blushed as her boyfriend chuckled. "Okay, so go on. You met there and fell in love, you obviously had this whole band thing going on..."
"We were both in the music department. She wanted to be her very own tragic opera diva; I just wanted to be her very own."
Eyes on his hand, Buffy made a face, silently mocking that statement.
"That's romantic," Willow said dreamily.
"Yeah, 'cept she always had a wandering -- bloody hell," he whipped his head to the right, "what are you trying to do to me, woman? Cuttin' off my circulation."
"Wuss." She eased the tension of the bandage.
He continued, "Anyway. Couldn't ever satisfy her; couldn't keep her still. One day she just up and decides to move to L.A. Because the pixies told her she'd be a star or some rot."
"The band the Pixies?" Oz asked.
"No, the... pixies in her head." He wiggled his fingers at his head. "It's complicated."
"Or merely insane," Buffy said.
"You be quiet." It was almost affectionate, teasing, the way he said that.
Buffy smiled to herself while she affixed the last piece of tape.
He took a deep breath. "So being the nancy boy I am, I followed her. Came out here on a student visa, didn't go to school, didn't work, just lived and breathed her."
"Wait -- doesn't that mean you have to go back?" Buffy suddenly felt inexplicably panicked.
"Why do you think I don't carry ID?"
"Don't you have a passport?"
"Burned it." He closed his bandaged hand around hers. "Buffy, relax. I'm not going back."
"You guys are so cute," Willow said.
Buffy and Spike looked up. "Huh?"
Buffy realized her hand was still in his. She pulled away so fast she hit her elbow on her chair. Ow.
"Cute. You're so new and in love and stuff."
"What -- oh--" they both bumbled for a second. "We're not--"
Buffy spoke. "I didn't mean about the sex, what I said in the club? I was just doing it to... annoy Dru, really. Although," she glanced at Spike and back at Willow, "I'm sure he isn't -- you know -- horrible --"
"Better believe I'm not," Spike said to Buffy, affronted.
"--but I really wouldn't know," she finally wrapped up, wanting to vanish into thin air.
"Oh, okay," Willow said. "I'm sorry, my bad. You just look like... you fit."
"Fit? Me and her? No--"
"We are totally unfit--"
She smiled at them. "It's just that, you met in such an abrupt way. Crash! I mean, you could've hated each other, but now you're here, and... you're so easy with each other, and you care. It's like serendipity. Or destiny or fate or something. Or possibly lusty bunny-ness." She hiccupped. "I'm sorry, I should stop drinking."
Buffy got up. "Anybody want snacks? I'm gonna get snacks."
* * *
"Buffy, I love you," Willow said as she hugged her goodbye. "I'm sorry I hated you all these years."
Buffy chuckled, "I don't know how much you'll regret that statement in the morning but... I've really missed you, Will."
Oz smiled warmly.
"Aww..." Willow whined. "Let's never be not friends again, 'kay?"
"'Kay." They let go of each other, and she waved goodbye to Oz.
"What happened with you two?" Spike asked as they watched Willow stumbling on Oz's arm en route to the van.
"Oh, you know how it goes. BFF until seventh grade, when allegiances and roles are established." She sighed. "It's pretty..."
"Rough," he said.
"Dumb," she corrected.
They stood in silence for a moment.
"Erm, thanks for the wrap." He held up his hand.
"Yeah, well," she pushed a strand of hair out of her face, "I can't have buckets of blood all over my backyard, can I?"
"Right, 'course not. Be right hard to explain to Daddy."
She nodded, looked up at him.
He looked down at her, eyes lingering on her lips.
"Night," she squeaked, and hurried away.
Long after she'd gone inside, he was still staring at his bandaged hand, opening and closing it.