TITLE: Time Stands Still AUTHOR: Robert A. Black / email@example.com RATING: G SPOILERS: "Inca Mummy Girl" and "Halloween" DISCLAIMER: All things Buffy are the creation and property of Joss Whedon, Mutant Enemy Productions, the WB Network and so forth. SUMMARY: Oz has an interesting music lesson. This is my little gift to the Willow/Oz crowd. I'm not part of that group myself, but I wrote the story anyway. See the Author's Notes below for an explanation of why. Feedback is encouraged - It always is, of course, but in this case especially so. This story isn't my usual style, so I'm feeling reeeal insecure. :-) The guitar strings quivered and hummed beneath Oz's fingertips. It was his acoustic guitar, not his preferred electric one, but still the tones didn't sound quite right. Miss Boyer had always encouraged him to learn the lute as well as the guitar, but he had never listened to her. Now he wished that he had. Time stands still with gazing on her face. Stand still and gaze, for minutes, hours and years to her give place. The song unfolded around Oz's mind, filling him with yearning. How he wished he could spend minutes, hours and years gazing on her face. He remembered the first time he saw it, framed by the hood of her costume as if to make sure he wouldn't miss her. Oz couldn't take his eyes off her the entire night, no matter how hard she had tried to stay at the edges of the party. All other things shall change, but she remains the same Till heavens changed have their course, and Time hath lost his name. As the song took Oz through its long, slow lines, his mind reached back to the second time he had seen her. She had looked so different - confident instead of shy, unafraid of showing herself off rather than trying to hide. And yet there had been no mistaking the fact that she was the same person. On both occasions, her eyes had blazed with the same fire, and her face had shone with the same bright radiance. No doubt about it, kid, the song told him. You have definitely got it bad. Cupid doth hover up and down blinded with her fair eyes. And Fortune, captive at her feet, condemned and conquered lies. The song was almost four hundred years old, and yet it spoke to him as readily as something written last week. Maybe even more. How could these notes on a page know how he felt? He'd been wondering that for days now, ever since he had finally opened the book Miss Boyer had given him and found the song in the first place. Was the music filling him with these feelings, or had he brought the feelings to the music? It was as if the song had somehow merged with him. He felt what the notes and words expressed. The notes and words expressed what he felt. The two had almost become indistinguishable from each other. The song had been written about some woman who was long dead, but in Oz's hands, it became about the girl in his thoughts, as if it had been about her from the very beginning. This sort of thing just didn't happen to Oz all that often. Playing lead guitar at the Bronze didn't really provide many such opportunities. Eventually, the experience became too much for him. All of a sudden, he was aware of Miss Boyer's eyes watching him, and he brought his music to a halt, feeling painfully self-conscious. "Well!" exclaimed Miss Boyer. "All this time, I've been trying to get you to look past rock and roll and learn something by a true master like Dowland. Just when I was ready to give up, you go and do it all by yourself. I must say I'm impressed." "Thanks, " Oz replied. "I've kind of been inspired lately." "One thing, though - you do remember, don't you, that this is only a guitar lesson? If you want to sing along, I can refer you to a friend of mine who'll teach you a few things you need to know." Miss Boyer looked Oz squarely in the eye. "I strongly recommend you go see him." "Oh, no thanks," said Oz, suddenly shy. "I don't really plan on singing. I, uh, just got carried away." "I see," Miss Boyer replied. She looked him over for a moment, then asked, "So, who is she?" "She?" Oz asked innocently. "She who?" "Oh, come now," said Miss Boyer. "I've been your guitar teacher long enough to know you pretty well, and I know a thing or two about life outside this room, too. There's only one reason you'd take so much interest in a song like this, and it's not because your band is planning to change its image." She grinned conspiratorially. "Is she anyone I know?" "I, uh, don't think so," Oz replied. "Well, all right," said Miss Boyer, sounding a bit disappointed. "I guess we're done for today, then. I'll see you next time." Oz packed up his guitar and made his way out the door. The song was still ringing through his head, every note embedding itself in his memory. Even though he was not a singer, the words of the song stayed with him, playing themselves to him over and over. The more he heard them in his mind, the more they seemed to fit. Yes, he thought. This was the song that he would remember that girl by. He only wished that someday he'd be able to find out her name. THE END. AUTHOR'S NOTES: My personal goal in writing this story was to try capturing at least some of what it feels like when you're completely caught up in a piece of music that you're performing. I was sitting in choir rehearsal pondering this matter when Oz just happened to wander past my brain. He noticed what I was thinking and reminded me that we had just been talking about songs for Willow in the WILLFIC chat that night. He therefore made me an offer I couldn't refuse - he'd me help with my story if I would tell it his way. Unfortunately, Willow was busy working on the two stories I'm currently planning to write for her, so she wasn't around for me to introduce her to Oz. Maybe next time. The song "Time Stands Still" was written in 1603 by the English lutenist and songwriter John Dowland. It's part of his "Third and Last Booke of Songs."
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