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Hitler painted roses.

She remembers the phrase, and how she’d struggled to pretend she didn’t find it repellent, from some poem she’d read one day when she was in her Bukowski phase. If memory serves, that had lasted about three weeks. She’s too orderly, too logical for that sort of thing, but she had tried it on for size in the latter days of her relationship with Oz, hoping he’d find her cool and interesting. He hadn’t even noticed the volumes of Ginsberg and Kerouac she’d taken to carrying around. The memory tells her something she would have found painful years ago: It wasn’t Veruca who’d killed their love. She and Oz were drifting apart; Veruca simply made the current flow faster, that was all.

It’s funny how glad Willow is that it ended the way it did. Maybe it makes no sense, but it’s better to burn out than fade away. She wonders if Oz is waiting for her in Istanbul, not realizing that he stopped loving her even before he had a wild night of wolf-style, that he returned to Sunnydale for a dream he should have woken up from in Tibet and that she woke up from when she lit a candle and gazed into Tara’s eyes.

Hitler painted roses.

She wasn’t that girl then any more than she is that girl now. She’s still not a bohemian, not really. Witches can be more than flaky New Age types, and for all her broomstick skirts, Willow's no incense-choked hippie. She is who she is, and that’s who she’ll always be. Some things change – the way she wears her hair, the name of her lover, the amount of power she wields – but deep down there’s always that center, that self, who is the same girl she’s been since the day she was born. Not geek, not girlfriend, not goddess – just Willow.

It’s something she embraces now, at last, though for so many years she had wished it wasn’t that way at all. Maybe watches and clocks are a mistake, she thinks. Maybe people should simply let time pass, let it work its will, let the truth be revealed by the way it crashes against the rocks of what is like thunderous waves.

Hitler painted roses.

Willow just watches as they wither and fade and bloom anew.

The End.
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