Monosyllabic Eccentricity

Title: Sleep to Dream Her
Author: Ailie
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: Post New Moon Rising
Summary: A glimpse into Oz's life
Disclaimer: I own nothing. All belongs to Joss and UPN. Oh, and they lyrics aren't mine either. The song is "Sleep to Dream Her" by the Dave Matthews Band.

I know I'll miss her later
Wish I could bend my love to hate her
Wish I could be her creator
To twist her arms now

E-flat, D, D-flat. It was an easy enough song as far as the bass line was concerned. Damn easy, in fact. The rest of the band had been rather surprised when Oz suggested they cover it. They rarely did covers do begin with, let alone one that was so different from their normal punkish style. But it did work nicely for some variety in a long set, and eventually the guys agreed to give it a shot.

Time now found Oz and the band at a hole in the wall that tried to pass itself off at a bar. His days playing The Bronze with "Dingoes" seemed like the lap of luxury compared to this. Actually, in a way the falling plaster and chipped Formica did remind him of his old haunt ... after a vampire attack, anyway. Plus it wasn't exactly the crowd their manager had promised; a few drunken men sprawled across the bar, several women desperately looking for love in very wrong places, and maybe a dozen bored college students lounging in the back.

And yet Oz still scanned the crowd, hoping that this would be the day.

She stares up at the stars when
The stars fell from her hair then
I bent down to collect them
And then she was gone

Still fresh in his mind was the day he had gone back to Sunnydale. The evening walk he had taken with his love. The way moonbeams played amongst stray strands of hair as Willow tilted her head to face the full moon. Starlight in her eyes and smile when she made the connection. Shadows crossing her delicate features when he attempted to ask her back into his life.

Looking back now, he realized he had known. He had known the second she broke their embrace under that cursed moon. But that hadn't been his vision, his fantasy of the way that moment should have been. So he ignored it, and her. That ignorance had cost him everything.

Oh I sleep just to dream her
I beg the night just to see her
That my only love should be her
Just to lie in her arms

In dreams alone did Oz's Willow now live. This Willow woke beside him every morning, mumbling about raspberry hats or some other such nonsense. She rambled when she was nervous, bit her lip when she was thinking naughty thoughts. She had taken him back with open arms that night so many years ago, and now sat in the audience of every club or bar he played in his mind.

Waking hours brought pain of reality, but this song ... it seemed to offer some sort of hope. He recalled their last conversation somewhat selectively. "Part of me will always be waiting," she had said. "If I round the corner and bump into you, I won't be surprised." That had been his Willow talking, not *hers.* His Willow would walk into one of these bars some day and see him, of that he was certain. She would hear this song and know, just know, that he had picked it out for her. The same way she had just known the right things to say and do before ... she would do the right thing again. She would live in his life as well as dreams.

Oh I came there to find out
Find out she made up her mind
My arms are all tied up
To me she was blind

Sometimes Oz would come to his senses and realize that he was the blind one, not Willow. He was the one who refused reality both then and now. Those days were the worst. One or two of them had ended in excessive drinking and the rampaging destruction of motel property. Eventually he had decided denial was the best place to live ... and the rest of the band decided it was best to keep him there with whatever drugs they could find. So they kept him in his happy place, and he continued to play, although slightly sloppier than before.

This space between us
Where wingless dreams fall earless
Will you not bear me witness
With your back to me now
It seems so unnerving
Yet still somehow deserving
That she could hold my heart so tightly
And still not see me here

With the end of the song rapidly approaching, Oz frantically scanned the crowd. In every girl there were little pieces of her. That one had her smile. Over there, bright blue eyes. And red hair being all the rage, any girl could be her from behind. But the total package wasn't there. It never was.

She never was.

Oh I sleep just to dream her
Beg the night just to see her
That my only love should be her
Just to lie in her arms

Derek had realized a long time ago that his bass player had his quirks, and learned to work around them. He glanced Oz's way to signal the end of the final chord and notice of the man's slighly frazzled expression. Time to end the set, give the poor guy something to calm and collect him before going back on stage. The habit was expensive to support, but he had to admit that Oz was a helluva player, and they needed him if they were gonna get anywhere.

Oz never offered to talk about his past, and Derek never asked. It had been a subject of some debate during late night hotel room parties, when the melancholy basist had been passed out and alone in his own room. Whispers of women, sometimes of men. Maybe a crime committed in a moment of blind passion. Who knew? What Derek did know was that a demon lurked under that calm water, and he wasn't about to disturb it.

I know I'll miss her later
I wish I could bend my love to hate her
Wish I could be her creator
To be the light in her eyes