It was nearly sunrise, and everyone had gone to bed - Willow had let the other members of SG-1 into her parents house, correctly assuming that they wouldn't be there. They had offered to stay with her, of course, but Willow had refused. - except for Spike, being nocturnal as he was. Willow was rather glad that he had volunteered to stay up with her, because, despite the fact that she knew there was no chance of getting to sleep, she still didn't think she could handle staying up by herself. And she didnt want to stay with someone who might influence her decision, to stay or to go. She still felt shaken from dying (Willow had equalled Buffy on that count, now) and from the memories of the extra-dimensional entity that had briefly possessed her. Having Oz locked in a cage nearby wasn't helping, either.
Willow was in the middle of yet another card game (Spike had been teaching her to play poker, and she had found that, much to her surprise, she was good at it. Unless, of course, Spike was going easy on her.) when she felt a colossal surge of magic. It was miles away, far further than Willow had ever been able to sense something before. She wondered if that was because the magic was so strong, or if her death had somehow strengthened her magic, or if it was some other reason entirely. However, given that it was so far away and seemed like nothing more than a simple summoning spell, Willow ignored it and won the hand she was playing.
"The sun will be up in a couple of minutes, Red." said Spike, gently. "Would you like me to..." he gestured vaguely at the door.
Willow smiled gratefully. "Yes, thank you, if you don't mind." she said, voice quavering a little. Spike looked at her compassionately, then lurched upright and left the room. Willow hoped he was going far enough away that his vampiric hearing wouldn't catch what she was going to say to Oz.
Then the sun rose, and Oz-the-wolf shimmered briefly and became Oz-the-man. Thankfully, Giles had scrounged up some clothes which he had put in the cage - Willow knew that they'd be far too big for her diminutive ex-boyfriend, but she really didn't want to have any kind of meaningful conversation with him that started with him being naked. So Willow waited until he started to stir (in case she had to wake him up rather than let him awake naturally) before turning her back to him.
"What happened?" Willow heard Oz say, voice harsh. He cleared his throat and tried again.
"You got shot." Willow said, thinking that that was as good a place to start as any. Goddess, did this have to be so damned difficult!?
"Really." Oz said conversationally, as though that happened to him every day. "Why?"
Willow thought for a moment about how to answer that. She'd spent the entire night rehearsing what she would say (if you could call it rehearsing when she changed her mind every minute or so) but now, when the time came, Willow still didn't have a clue what to say. "You came to Giles' house, do you remember that? Ethan was here-"
"The costume man." Oz interrupted, checking. He hadn't been affected by Ethan, not that time, but he had been told the story. "I'm dressed now, by the way." Willow blushed slightly and turned around to face him. He looked ridiculous in Giles clothes, they really were far too big for him.
"Yes, the costume man." Willow affirmed. Come to think of it, did being turned into a ghost count as dying? Because if so, Ethan and his actions had killed her twice. "Anyway, he was here, and a man who wanted to arrest him. You came in just before he got arrested, and he must've done something that pushed you over the edge." Willow assumed that Oz had found some way to control his inner wolf, given that the moon had definitely been up when he had come in, human.
"I lost control." Oz said, bitterly. After all that effort to find a cure, and he didn't even have the will power to implement it properly.
"No! No, it was Ethan, I felt him do it. Then the man who was going to arrest him, Maybourne, shot you." Willow said, eager to brush aside Oz's doubts.
"Right." said Oz, absorbing the story, such as it was. "So, how are you doing, then?"
Willow laughed. "Oh, I'm good. Besides dying and being possesed by something from another dimension. And being really under-slept. You?"
"You do look tired." said Oz laconically. "I'm fine, too. Been traveling around the world in my truck, getting shot at, and on one memorable occasion having chickens pelted at me."
"No, it doesn't."
"You're right, it doesn't." Willow laughed briefly, then stopped because it seemed fake. Perhaps it was. "So, what do we do now?"
"It does seem kind of awkward, doesn't it?" Oz agreed.
Willow sighed. "Yes, yes it does. I suppose I'd better introduce you." she mused, half to herself. "Wow, this is going to be a long story."
"I thought I'd met all your friends." Oz said warily. "And I have plenty of time for a long story."
"Well, I kind of made new friends while you were gone." Willow said shyly, then blurted out "And joined a military project."
Oz blinked. "Really. That's new."
Willow told Oz all about everything that had happened to her since he had left her - the Caelus fiasco, meeting Jack, Sam, Daniel and Teal'c (she left out her and Daniel's recent kiss, and really hoped that no one would bring that up) and discovered that alien life existed, and how she had signed up to the Stargate program, due in no small part to him leaving her and her feeling like there was nothing here for her anymore. Of course, Willow didn't put it quite like that, but that was how Oz understood it - as they walked to her parents house. She expected that Teal'c, at least, would be awake, probably both Sam and Jack too.
Oz seemed to take it all in his stride. Willow couldn't tell what he was thinking - but then, she never had been able to. It was part of why she liked him, that and his non-linear humor. Now, though, Willow couldn't help but wish that he would just speak, tell her how he was taking all of this. But he didn't.
Willow hesitated a moment before turning the key in the lock, afraid of what might happen when she introduced Oz to her other, non-Scooby friends. But she did it anyway, knowing that there was no point delaying the inevitable. She threw open the door to the smell of omelettes, and Willow realised, as her stomach growled at her, that she was starving
- that ice cream hadn't really sustained her for long. An answering rumble from Oz made Willow chuckle.
Abruptly, Teal'c appeared in the doorway. "Good day, Willow Rosenberg. I have made omelets."
"You can cook?" Willow asked in surprise, then caught the looks passing between Teal'c and Oz. "Teal'c, this is Oz. He's a werewolf. Oz, this is Teal'c. He's an alien." The two men, one at least a foot taller than the other, stared at each other a moment more before shaking hands.
That out of the way (although Willow had no more idea what Teal'c thought of Oz than what Oz thought of - well, anything, really) Willow headed into the kitchen, where, to her mild surprise, she saw all the members of SG-1 sitting around the table - well, slouched would be a better term. They all looked exhausted. "Hey, Willow. Hope you don't mind - Teal'c took over the kitchen, and ousted us from our lovely sleep." said Jack, with a glare at the impassive alien. Then he caught sight of Oz and straightened up slightly. "Oh. Hi there."
"Hi." said Oz calmly, taking in the scene.
Willow took it upon herself to do the introductions again. "Jack, Sam, Daniel, this is Oz. Oz, this is Jack, the blonde is Sam and the one with the crooked glasses is Daniel."
Daniel straightened his glasses and said "And you'd be the one that Willow engraved on the wall, when she was possessed."
Oz turned to Willow, the question clear in his expression. "Oh yeah, I forgot about that." she mumbled. "Do you mind if we don't talk about that?" Oz shrugged and went over to the kitchen island, taking a healthy portion of one of the three omelets that Teal'c had made - the only one containing meat, Willow noticed - and sat across the table from Jack, notably as far from Daniel as he could get. Awkward silence ensued.
A phone rang. Everyone went to their pockets, and Jack rummaged around in his before triumphantly bringing his cell out. "I'll just be a moment." he said to the room in general before stepping outside.
"So, how long have you been a werewolf?" Sam asked, to break the silence.
"About two years. How long has it been since the same kind of thing that lives in Teal'c's stomach was living in you?" Oz replied.
"You can tell that? How?" asked Sam incredulously, turning to Willow to see if she had told Oz about Jolinar. Willow shook her head to show she hadn't.
"I've always had a good sense of smell." said Oz drily, eyes flicking to Daniel.
Before anything else could be said, Jack stepped back into the room, phone in hand. "That was the General. He's agreed to give us a week's leave." the SG-1 team relaxed slightly, having subconsciously feared that they might be needed back at the base. Willow remained tense at the awkward situation Oz's return had put her in.
Jack wasn't finished. "Sam, Hammond wants to know if this means you'll be skipping your lecture on theoretical astrophysics at the Airforce Academy tommorow."
Sam stood up suddenly. "Holy Hannah, I completely forgot about that! Tell him no, no I won't. I've already blown off General Kerrigan too many times. Sorry Willow, but it'll only be for a day."
Willow nodded. "It's alright, I understand." She couldn't expect everyone to entirely put their lives on hold for her.
Jack said, reluctantly "I suppose I'd better tell those commandos that the business with your possession is all sorted out now."
When Buffy woke up, back in her dorm room - she was mildly surprised she had managed to get to sleep at all, considering that being an insomniac was basically part of being a Slayer, and she expected to be plagued with ideas to stop Willow from going back to the SGC - she realised that she really needed to have a conversation with Riley. At some point during the night, Sam had told her about the commandos, and Willow had burst in saying that Riley and Professor Walsh were both in on it - Buffy had had to try to look surprised, although the news that Walsh was part of it was surprising.
So Buffy called Riley, and he turned up at her dorm far faster than she would've expected. And, for the first time since Oz had joined their group, Buffy found herself explaining about being a Slayer and the supernatural to someone who wasn't already part of that world. And also, without revealing her sources, what she knew of his operation.
Buffy could see that Riley didn't entirely believe her, that he was shocked by what she had said, but he hid it behind a soldiery exterior. "I suppose you'd better meet Professor Walsh."
"I suppose I better had."The brief mention about an outpouring of magic at the beginning of this chapter is a tiny crossover with my aforementioned spin-off of this series, "The Adventures of Dru the Ensouled".
Also, seeing as how we are now entering the second part of this story, we are now entering another episode of Stargate - "Prodigy". I know that it takes place in the other end of the series from "Upgrades", but given that they're both standalone episodes that hardly matters. We are also now entering the Buffy episode "The I in Team."