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Time stands still with gazing on her face.

TITLE:  Time Stands Still
AUTHOR:  Robert A. Black / rablack@primenet.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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