The Hermit Intervention
June 23, 2005 5:50 PM
“You’ve been keeping to yourself kinda.”
Willow looked up to see Oz standing in her office doorway.
“Yeah, you have,” he argued. Well, as much as Oz would argue. “How’d Buffy with the coven go?”
“I think she and Astoria made friends, but I’m not sure. It’s so hard to tell with Tori sometimes. You can come in, you know.”
Oz smiled and walked into her office. He sat down in one of the chairs across from her desk. Oz knew her enough to know she was not sleeping well. Probably worried. She had a lot on her these days. He worried about that sometimes. He had not been around for the black magic meltdown, but he’d gathered from Giles, Buffy and Xander that it had been pretty bad.
“You need something,” Willow stated. “This isn’t a social visit.”
Oz grinned. He was more used to her being able to read him when he got close than he thought he would be. Oddly, it did not bother him.
“Mac and Kasie are bored, I think. We’re training and stuff, but I think they need more to do.”
“Buffy and I gave them a project for today, so don’t worry.”
“Oh? I heard it mentioned before, even hinted at it, but I didn’t know…”
Willow looked up. “I was going to talk to you about that today, but I just got busy with all this paperwork. I’m so distracted today. Apparently there are severe Andrew issues in Cleveland. Since Giles keeps saying no to sending him back, Faith has decided to plead her case to me. I don’t mind Andrew. Since I tried to kill him that one time, he pretty much leaves me alone. For the most part, but he irritates Giles, and we have to keep the boss happy, you know.”
Oz grinned at her babbling. She had gotten totally sidetracked. “The project?”
“What? Oh! Oh yeah. See? Distracted. The British Wizarding Museum, not to be confused with the regular one, is having a weapons exhibit. Most of the weapons carry some sort of magic that can be harnessed.”
“Well, the one that really caught my attention was Excalibur. Irulan knows more about it, and she was pissed. She advised them not to do it.”
“Well, yeah, every power-hunting thief and every power-hungry being that can afford a good thief for miles is going to be trying to figure out a way in.”
“That’s where Kasie comes in,” Willow said. “We want her to look and figure out all the way she would get in. Then we’re going to have her thief-proof the place.”
Oz smiled. “She’ll love that. What about Mac?”
“Security, of course. We’re going to have a steady rotation of slayers watching the exhibit twenty-four seven. She and Vi will be heading it up. Our most fierce and out most responsible, but I don’t want to work those two to death, so we’ll figure out a rotation.”
Oz nodded. “Younger slayers too?”
“If they pass Buffy’s test.”
“Will there be math on this test? Also will there be logic? Because Buffy logic isn’t normal people logic, you know.”
“Who are you guys looking at?”
“Well, all the slayers from Sunnydale are up for it. Pevensie, Alice, Britt, possibly Sveta and Hiran. I’ll speak to Mac about that when she gets back from France. Get hers and Buffy’s input.”
“She’s going for the weekend with Neville.”
“She didn’t tell you.”
“Oh Oz, it’ll be fine. She just wants some alone time with him.”
He grinned. “I get that, and I want her to have her alone time, but I also want her to, you know, tell me.”
“I’m sure she will.”
“Before or after she gets back?”
“Oz…” Willow smiled.
She could tell he wasn’t seriously angry, but she would have a word with Mac about letting Oz know stuff. Not asking permission, but just keeping him informed. Willow had already learned that Mac was pretty independent. She didn’t like asking for permission about her own life. Still, he was her watcher. He needed to know things like her being out of the country for a weekend.
He gave her a serious look. “You can’t hide in your room or your office all the time, Willow. People talk.”
Willow blinked, surprised, yet not, about the topic change. “I just… it’s easier.”
“And when, exactly, did you turn into the woman who took the easy way out?”
Willow looked at him. He was right. She still felt the need to defend herself, though. “Oz, you don’t-“
“Understand? Know what it’s like? No, not about that, but I know what you’re like. I don’t care what you’ve done, that hasn’t changed. Willow does not hide. But you’re wrong, I do know a bit about that’s it’s like to need space to clear your head, but that still involves dealing with it, Will.”
“You can,” Oz said. “As a matter of fact…” He came around her desk and pulled her up from the chair. “You are having supper in the kitchen tonight with whoever is there.”
“No,” Willow protested, batting at his hands.
“I have a slayer that will carry you there,” Oz threatened. “Two probably.”
“I don’t want to.”
“I don’t care,” Oz said. “This stops. Now. I am your friend, and I am doing a hermit intervention.”
“A hermit intervention?”
“Look,” he said, tucking some red hair behind her ear. “I care about you. Always. It worries me to see you so closed off.”
Willow hugged him. “What are we going to eat then?”
“There’s my girl.”
She laughed, and they slipped their arms around one another to head out.
“Think the house elves can manage some burgers and fries with coke floats?”
Willow’s tummy rumbled at the thought. “Goddess, I hope so.”