Nature's Music

Author: Deborah -

Summary: It may be raining, but that doesn't mean the picnic's not romantic.

Rating: PG

Distribution: Anywhere that'll take it. Just email me and lemme know where it's at.

Disclaimer: Oz, Willow et al aren't mine. They belong to the creative genius aka Joss. I'm merely borrowing em for a bit.

Feedback: Good or bad, I wanna know what you thought of it.

Authors Note: This is kinda in response to a challenge I sent out a while ago asking about what they were doing during their summer holidays. This is only one evening out of many; maybe someone else wants to fill in some more of the days (hint hint - write fic, send in *grins hopefully*)

The thunder rumbled, still far off, but getting nearer by the second. Oz hesitated as he was spreading out their picnic blanket, his acute senses picking up the feeling of a storm in the air. Willow walked over to him with the picnic basket, her stream of chatter trailing off as she saw him poised in almost pointer mode.

"What is it?" she asked him, stooping down beside him, kneeling on the plaid blanket.

"Storm's coming." he replied, turning his eyes from the sky to look at her.

"A storm? Are you sure? I mean, that would kinda ruin the picnic . . . maybe it's something els . . ." Willow trailed off as a low roll of thunder could be heard even to her ears through the forest trees.

"Oh." she added.

"Yeah - I guess we should pack it up." Oz began gathering up the plates he had laid out.

Willow let out a disappointed sigh as she stood up off the blanket and began folding it. Oz put down the plates and took her hands in his own, surprising Willow, who had been wrapped up in the folding job. She looked up into his intense eyes.

"I thought we had to pack up . . ." she said quietly, still lost in his eyes.

"Nah, it's just rain . . . the lightning's a long way off . . . and water won't hurt us."

Willow smiled then held out her hand as the first few small drops began to fall.

"But the food'll get wet . . ." she said.

"Wait here." Oz grabbed the basket and stuff and headed for the van, returning a few minutes later empty handed.

"We'll just postpone the eating then," he explained.

"But the point of a picnic - isn't it to eat? I mean . . . I'm pretty sure that's what you do . . ."

Without a word Oz stepped forward and took her into his arms, beginning to sway as though to some unheard music.

"We're dancing? But what about music?" Willow protested.

"Just listen . . . nature's giving us her own music . . ."

Willow rested her head on Oz's shoulder, closing her eyes and listening to the sounds around her: the rain pattering down on the flat leaves like a drummer on the skins; the wind whistling through the trees creating an enchanting melody line.

"I hear it . . ." she murmured.

Oz smiled and pulled her slightly closer as the rain started falling heavier. Fat drops now, soaking their clothes in a few minutes. Luckily, it was a balmy summer evening, and the sun was still just beginning to sink over the horizon, so neither of them were too cold. After a while, the thunder cracked, sounding closer overhead and startled them both out of the comfortable silence they'd found in each other's arms. Lightening lit up the darkening sky.

"We should get inside," Oz said, falling into the protective role.

Willow nodded, walking towards the van as she slipped her hand into Oz's. She went to hop into the front seat, but he put a hand on her shoulder, stopping her.

"In here." he pulled open the side door.

Willow glanced inside and saw he had hastily set up their picnic in there. She smiled and climbed in. "When did you . . . just now?"

Oz nodded. "When I brought the stuff back. We won't get wet here."

Willow moved to a place setting and took a seat on the snare drum case Oz had put by it. "This is perfect."

"Well, outside would have been better. But this'll do."

Oz went over to his place and sat down. Reaching behind him, he pulled out a small 3-stick candelabra. He grabbed a lighter from his pocket and lit the somewhat burned down candles. The result was a light glow reflecting off of the walls of the truck. Willow smiled and began searching through the picnic basket. The candlelight reflected off of the top of her lowered head and Oz, unable to resist, leaned forward and kissed the crown of her head. Willow looked up from her search, a smile on her face.

"Found them," she announced, pulling out two carefully wrapped sandwiches.

Nothing gourmet, but neither one of them much cared.

Oz grinned and took one from her, putting it on a plate in his lap before unwrapping it. Willow followed suit and soon the two of them were munching thoughtfully on their sandwiches.

Later, after the sandwiches had been eaten and Willow moved over into Oz's arms. Oz supported himself against the wall of the van, Willow leaning back against him, resting her head on his chest. The gentle drumming of the dying storm against the tin roof and Oz's fingers softly running through her hair, lulled Willow into a peaceful rest. After realizing his girlfriend was asleep, Oz simply smiled and settled himself in to watch her sleep until he finally drifted off himself.


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