The Kitten, the Witches and the Bad Wardrobe - Willow & Tara Forever

General Chat  || Kitten  || WaV  || Pens  || Mi2  || GMP  || TiE  || FAQ  || Feed - The Kitten, the Witches and the Bad Wardrobe

All times are UTC - 8 hours



Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 55 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (3/8/20)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 18, 2020 5:29 pm 
Offline
4. Extra Flamey
User avatar

Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 173
Topics: 7
Location: Pacific Northwest
Will's redemption:

Quote:
And the saddest thing is that she can't go to Willow
I know :( Gotta get them fixed up! Thanks as always for leaving your thoughts- stay safe and well in these crazy times.


Zooeys_bridge

Quote:
Tara remembering the physicality of the barn so vividly: It's remarkable, what we remember, without realizing, no matter how much time has passed, isn't it?
It really is, those things that sink in tied to emotion, our minds cling to it..

Quote:
On a normal day, a wet collar would have been super annoying. But in this instance, I'm sure she's grateful for it

definitely grateful at this moment Thanks, Rachel! Stay well and safe.


taranwillow4ever

Quote:
You got the feeling of the newly broken up perfectly. I remember that numb feeling and how you can lose time so easily. I am enjoying this story a lot. Thanks for writing.


thank you so much! and thank you for reading and leaving your thoughts!!! Be safe and well.





Wilderness

Author: shirrey (Beth)
Rating: PG-13 for now
Distribution: please ask
Disclaimer: I own nothing that ME created, except in my dreams

Notes: The story will start to be canon adjacent from here on out (more the 'on out'), time-lines may not totally follow the show and then will diverge completely. This last draft has had a pretty big overhaul since it was beta'd (thanks beta!!), I hope the mistakes are few. Mostly, I hope everyone is coping with and remaining well in this weird and scary time, take care of you and yours. I am ever grateful for this community. Be well.





Ch 8: The Bronze


The Bronze was teeming, twenty-something-ish bodies crushed together as they maneuvered within the space. Willow and Amy pushed through, trying to reach the stairs to the second floor. After third strange elbow jabbed Willow in the shoulder, and with a puff of frustration, she flung her hands in an outward motion, flicking them in opposite directions. The crowded divided, leaving a clear pathway ahead of two the women, both grinning broadly like satisfied cats. With a spring in her step, Willow moved toward the unblocked stairway, “Let’s go.”
“You couldn’t have thought of that at the bar?” Amy teased, pushing up the arms of her deep burgundy shirt, her index finger momentarily caught in the slashes that ran down the sleeve. Her brown skirt and oversized brown belt had been purchased with her father’s money just hours before.

“I was too busy showing the bartender our brand spankin’ new I.D.’s, years of aging at no charge.” Willow delighted, tongue peeking out between her teeth.

“Since when does the Bronze card, anyway?”

“New management,” Willow shrugged blithely, and then steadied her dirty martini before emerging into the open room. She was showing, as Amy put it, “more skin than you were even aware of in high school.” Her tight olive jeans rode low beneath an equally olive flowing tank with embroidered gold flowers and V-cut that revealed her slim stomach. High school Willow would have crumbled under panic and embarrassment, this Willow wore the outfit with ease.

The upper level was a study in red, dotted with tables, chairs, and a spattering of booths all bearing low glowing candles behind red- tinged votives. While it was less crowded, there were still no seats available. Willow huffed in disappointment before sipping at her drink, “Guess we stand.”

“Nah.” Fixing a mischievous gaze on a couple against the back wall, Amy uttered unfamiliar words through a self-satisfied grin. The couple rose from their seats and left the area, wearing confused expressions as they passed the girls. “Look, two seats, just opened up.” Willow smiled; this was the fun of magic.

“How was seeing your dad?” She inquired as they claimed their liberated land.

“Weird,” Amy plopped into a cushioned seat, “He thought I ran away. Or that I was dead.”

Choosing a more sedate ease into her chair, Willow winced in sympathy, “He didn’t believe the rat thing?”

“It’s kinda hard to wrap your head around. And Sunnydale, missing teen capital of everywhere, so...”

“Wow, I had no idea.”

“Yeah, he said he tried to find out more, but no one ever said anything to him again.” Amy’s words held no anger, but carried a distinct sense of regret.

“I’m sorry, Amy. I mean, I guess I took for granted that he accepted what had happened, since your mom was a witch an’ all.” Willow stared down at her drink where she ran her thumb back and forth over the edge of the protruding olive spear, “Guess we should have kept him updated.”

“Well, I’m sure you were busy,” a thin bitter thread was laced in the otherwise banal statement. It tickled at Willow’s senses and she was unsure what to make of it.

“It’s been pretty much non-stop crazy. World-endy crazy. But, I am sorry.”

Visibly shifting moods, Amy waved the topic away, “It’s in the past, right?” Pushing her hair back, Amy leaned her elbows on the table and propped her chin on clasped hands, “So…. You date girls now?”

Willow took a slow drink before she answered, her voice throaty and quiet, “Well, one girl, there’s just been the one.”

Amy leaned forward in interest, “What happened?”

Willow blinked in surprise and a small weight seemed to lift from her shoulders- there was no blame or foregone conclusions there. Amy was an impartial, maybe even sympathetic, ear. Still, there was a tremble in her voice when she spoke, “We, um, she was upset with me- for using magic.”

“Did she not know you?” Amy pulled back slightly, eyes rolling incredulously, “I mean not everyone understands witchcraft but-“

“No, she does. Tara is a witch too.”

“Then what’s with the judgment?”

“She said I was using too much.” Aiming for an air of composure, Willow attempted an easy shrug but it came off stiff and twitchy.

Obviously unimpressed, Amy huffed, “Wow, controlling much?”

“No!” Willow protested, “Tara’s not like that. She just- she grew up practicing, and she has all these rules and restrictions that she really believes in. And I think she didn’t trust me enough to know what I was doing, what I had to do.”

“And what did she think was so offensive?”

Willow told Amy about the last year. Glory. The horror of seeing the god’s hands stealing Tara away, watching Tara struggle, each day more frantic and frightened and helpless. Buffy’s psychotic break, then death. Taking the mantle of leadership over the summer, because she was expected to. Because she could. Fighting every day to keep everyone safe. Bringing Buffy back.

“The magic saved us, my magic saved us. And yeah,” Willow continued, a little too earnestly, “I used it to make party decorations, or to close the curtains sometimes, but that’s like, super simple magic, it's easy peasy for me now. I use magic to save lives, shouldn’t I be able to use it to make life easier too? I think it’s more than a fair trade.”

“Your ex sounds like a bore, Willow, move on.”

“Don’t.” Willow’s eyes narrowed dangerously, alit by a ferocious flame. Staring widely with alarm, Amy moved as far back as her chair would allow. “Don’t talk about her like that.” With a blink, Willow softened and tears gathered and sat in tiny pools, “She is the most amazing person I have ever met. We just didn’t see eye to eye on this.” Closing her eyes, Willow appeared lost in reverie.

Tilting her head, Amy observed Willow, flickers of scrutiny barely discernible behind an impassive visage, “Ok, Wills. Subject dropped,” Amy stood, grabbing Willow by the hand, “What you need is some distraction”. With a slight tug, she pulled the reluctant redhead to the railing where they could view the crowd below. “Come on, let’s have some fun.”

Amy searched the couples on the dance floor and at the bar. With a look of satisfaction she turned to Willow, “Found just your style.” A thin line of red mist streamed from Amy’s outstretched fingers, making its way through the people and finding its target. Willow followed the trail to where the mist disappeared into the chest of an attractive young woman with long brown hair; an attractive young woman who until now had been dancing intimately with a taller blonde. The woman stopped her dance, looking directly up and into Willow’s eyes. Her smile promised that no seduction was necessary as she pushed out of the bewildered blonde’s arms and started walking toward the stairs, her gaze never leaving Willow’s face.

“Amy, no, no! I’m not –“ Willow frantically shook her head.

“Ok.” Amy shrugged, and with a flick of her hand, the spellbound dancer stopped cold, a look of pure confusion on her face. Amy turned to see tears return to flood Willow’s eyes. She was shaking and Amy was sure there was a breakdown in sight. Amy knew Willow was trying to have a good time tonight and frankly, did not want her first night back filled with anything but a celebration of walking on two legs again.

Willow looked to Amy just as the other woman pressed two fingers to Willow’s forehead. A heady rush swept through Willow’s small frame, and she grinned as her thoughts melted away.

“Isn’t that better?” Amy asked with a bright smile.

“So much,” Willow practically swooned.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (3/18/20)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2020 5:38 am 
Offline
5. Willowhand

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 342
Dibs! :whip

Quote:
After third strange elbow jabbed Willow in the shoulder, and with a puff of frustration, she flung her hands in an outward motion, flicking them in opposite directions. The crowded divided, leaving a clear pathway ahead of two the women, both grinning broadly like satisfied cats. With a spring in her step, Willow moved toward the unblocked stairway, “Let’s go.”

Quote:
Fixing a mischievous gaze on a couple against the back wall, Amy uttered unfamiliar words through a self-satisfied grin. The couple rose from their seats and left the area, wearing confused expressions as they passed the girls. “Look, two seats, just opened up.” Willow smiled; this was the fun of magic.

Very sad that Willow doesn't see anymore that such manipulation of other people with magic is wrong.

Quote:
“Well, I’m sure you were busy,” a thin bitter thread was laced in the otherwise banal statement. It tickled at Willow’s senses and she was unsure what to make of it.

I guess that Amy is angry (at least subconsciously) because Willow didn't try to "derat" her sooner although she probably had the magical power to do so for quite some time already.
I can understand that anger (at least partially) but I still resent Amy for pulling Willow even deeper into the thrall of magic.

Quote:
“The magic saved us, my magic saved us. And yeah,” Willow continued, a little too earnestly, “I used it to make party decorations, or to close the curtains sometimes, but that’s like, super simple magic, it's easy peasy for me now. I use magic to save lives, shouldn’t I be able to use it to make life easier too? I think it’s more than a fair trade.”

For me this once again shows that Willow sees her ability to do magic like Buffy's slayer powers which help her doing her slayer duty but can also come handy in everyday life. Willow doesn't see (or want to see) any danger in her using too much or a "wrong kind" of magic as long as her intentions are good (or at least not bad).

Quote:
Willow looked to Amy just as the other woman pressed two fingers to Willow’s forehead. A heady rush swept through Willow’s small frame, and she grinned as her thoughts melted away.

“Isn’t that better?” Amy asked with a bright smile.

“So much,” Willow practically swooned.

Boo, bad Amy! :fit


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (3/18/20)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2020 8:00 pm 
Offline
3. Flaming O
User avatar

Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:32 pm
Posts: 66
WELL,...this is going to be one of those stories that I LOVE to HATE! Really like what you're doing with the story line, though. I just wish that Amy didn't have to BE such a rat,....physically AND figuratively.
Thanks for writing, it's a welcome distraction.
Blessings

_________________
[font=][font=]Strength in our arms, Truth on our tongues, Clarity in our hearts[/font][/font]


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (3/18/20)
PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2020 7:17 pm 
Offline
10. Troll Hammer
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2006 7:36 am
Posts: 1194
Topics: 4
Location: somewhere inbetween here and there
Page 2!

Testament to your writing that I honestly can't remember what's fic and what happened in canon, the lines are that blurred and in-character. That said, it's still hard to read the Willow-and-Amy-Make-Bad-Magical-Choices-at-the-Bronze stuff.

Quote:
Willow took a slow drink before she answered, her voice throaty and quiet, “Well, one girl, there’s just been the one."

Not sure if you're intentionally repurposing the similar conversation with you-know-who in S7, but it works beautifully here and my heart aches.

Willow defending Tara something scary fierce will never not be great to watch. Careful there, Amy (reminds me of the high school reunion episode in JetWolf's The Chosen)

Amy dosing Will with magic herself makes my tummy all kinds of sick.

_________________
Lotus


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (3/18/20)
PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2020 1:45 pm 
Offline
4. Extra Flamey
User avatar

Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 173
Topics: 7
Location: Pacific Northwest
@Will's redemption

Quote:
Very sad that Willow doesn't see anymore that such manipulation of other people with magic is wrong.

It is sad, I think sometimes we blind ourselves to some things so we don't have to face the truths of others, she'll get there :)

Quote:
I guess that Amy is angry (at least subconsciously) because Willow didn't try to "derat" her sooner although she probably had the magical power to do so for quite some time already.
I can understand that anger (at least partially) but I still resent Amy for pulling Willow even deeper into the thrall of magic.


Amy definitely has her issues. Thanks so much!!


MotherD

Quote:
WELL,...this is going to be one of those stories that I LOVE to HATE!


I hope someday it will become a story you love to love ;) But yeah, the Willow and Amy (Amy mostly) are not acting in the most, um... likeable way right now, so hate away (with the love)! Amy is a rat (although I have always kind of liked her, I think its mostly the actress, but Amy is complex and I find her interesting). Thanks so much MotherD!!


Zooeys_Bridge

Quote:
Testament to your writing that I honestly can't remember what's fic and what happened in canon, the lines are that blurred and in-character. That said, it's still hard to read the Willow-and-Amy-Make-Bad-Magical-Choices-at-the-Bronze stuff.


Thank you! It's been a few years at least since I have seen season 6, I know some of the stuff happened in canon (the dancing girls in particular), maybe the parting of the crowd....


Quote:
Not sure if you're intentionally repurposing the similar conversation with you-know-who in S7, but it works beautifully here and my heart aches.


It definitely wasn't purposeful- I have only seen S7 once, but it could very well have been lingering in the back of my mind (and/or I read it in fic somewhere) Regardless, thank you- I am glad it works here. Tara is the ONE and ONLY.


Quote:
Willow defending Tara something scary fierce will never not be great to watch. Careful there, Amy (reminds me of the high school reunion episode in JetWolf's The Chosen)


I love fiercely protective Willow, and no one better f*ck with Tara ;P


Quote:
Amy dosing Will with magic herself makes my tummy all kinds of sick.


I know, me too. Thanks so much!!!





Wilderness



Author: shirrey (Beth)
Rating: PG-13 for now
Distribution: please ask
Disclaimer: I own nothing that ME created, except in my dreams
Angst: yep

Notes: The story will start to be canon adjacent from here on out (more the 'on out'), time-lines may not totally follow the show and then will diverge completely. Thank you to Zooeys_Bridge for beta'ing!! Be safe and well!!





Ch 9: Keys



Tara was thankful it was Tuesday. She was tired and she knew she looked strung-out, but at least the busy day would, hopefully, force her mind to focus on something other than Willow. Something other than her abrupt and jarring relocation.

Something other than the relentless nightmares that swept in each and every night, waking her every few hours in yet another state of panic. Scenes replayed over and over again. Hands pushing into her skull, seeing Willow’s face there as she looked at her perpetrator, replacing the visage of the hell god. The bleak, angry world where she had lived in those days when the real perpetrator had thrust her into nightmare after nightmare. Dad yelling. Belts and sticks. Being pushed down on the dirt in the corral. Being pushed aside as she walked through her high school halls. Being pushed against the barn door. And the voices, all those voices reminding her that she was worthless, worthless and wrong.

Anything to distract her from the fact that she was so hungry, but couldn’t stomach anything more than crackers and tea for days.

Anything to distract her from the constant tremor of fear that itched at every nerve.

Tuesdays had always been busy days. She had a morning and an afternoon lecture and a seminar for her Mythology in Art advanced course in the early evening. She was determined to stay on track with her classes. Her scholarship demanded it, but Tara didn’t want to lose that part of her life either, she loved the worlds of knowledge and the challenge of mental expansion that her courses offered. No matter how much a part of her yearned to just stay in bed, hollowed up in her room, she pushed forward. She had managed to get a few, dreamless, hours of sleep after she drifted off propped up against her bed. Her neck hurt.

She had tried everything to pay attention in her first class, she drank hot, strong coffee to both keep her alert and give her something to do. The coffee reminded her of Willow, how the caffeine would have set Willow on overdrive, coffee which had no chocolate so Willow wouldn’t touch it anyway. She missed Willow’s touch. Tears began to form in Tara’s eyes and she dug her nails into her thigh, demanding her emotions be focused somewhere else, beyond the ache in her chest, negligent sleep weakening the resolve she valiantly tried to keep.

Her afternoon class was a little more lively, a heated on-going debate over agency and mental illness in Anna Karenina holding her interest enough to forget for several minutes at a time. Maybe a few minutes at a time. Still, Tara was grateful.

Class ended and she exited the hall to be faced with the melancholy face of Dawn Summers. She stood, leaning against the wall facing her classroom, arms crossed, body slightly rocking from heel to toe. The younger woman’s off-white top almost camouflaged her against the wall. Dawn looked up as the large hall door was pushed open, students streaming into the walkway. Her eyes found Tara’s and Dawn gave a small, tentative smile, unsure where things stood between them. Tara paused when she saw her then returning a matching smile she walked over to the teen.

“Hi,” Tara offered, the upward lilt adding a question to the greeting.

“Hey, Tara” Dawn replied, arms pressed into her side as she continued to rock. Tara knew Dawn was uncomfortable, the young woman was usually much more animated, words flying out of her mouth as her long brown hair bounced around her face.

Tara was relieved to see her, grateful that Dawn obviously hadn’t written her off, but she wasn’t ready to go over things with the younger girl. She didn’t want to have to explain, and then softly reject any ideas Dawn had of ‘fixing’ she and Willow, the us of them. Dawn would mean well, but she was too young, and somehow after living the life she did, still believed in happy endings. And Tara didn’t have the energy to either absorb or reject that.

With a grounding inhale, she spoke, “What are you doing here?” Tara checked her watch. “Did you come straight from school?”

“Yeah, I came yesterday too, but I guess you weren’t in class,” Dawn shrugged.

“It was cancelled” Tara replied. She had been so relieved, it was the closest she’d come to skipping another class. She had woken several times throughout the night in a panic and her nerves had been shot. This unexpected extra time had energized her. She even took the longer walk home, passing by the large oak she used to sit by and draw or study. She and Willow had had a sweet picnic there when they first started dating, all shy glances and nervous giggles, young lovers in love.

Tara had let herself remember as she touched the tree’s rough gray bark.

“Oh,” Dawn began, shaking Tara out of past stories and into the present. The teen had obviously taken note of Tara’s appearance. There was little hiding the effects of the stress and fatigue Tara had been under and Dawn openly stared while she twisted her fingers together in front of her. Or, maybe Dawn was just nervous. Either way Tara said nothing, waiting for the teen to continue.

“I’m so sorry Tara. I’m sorry for everything. For how I acted when…. when you left,” the younger girl nearly choked on that last word. As if to say, I am so tired of losing people. Tara’s heart went out to her, but she knew she couldn’t have stayed even if would preserve Dawn’s heart.

“I understand, Dawn. I’m glad you’re here now, really glad.” At that, Dawn threw herself into Tara’s arms, squeezing her tight. Tara squeezed back with slightly less force, afraid to give in. As if withholding this comfort would help her keep from falling apart. Dawn didn’t seem to mind or notice though as she pulled back, still keeping Tara’s hands in hers. “Are you ok?”

Tara swallowed a sob and she pressed her lips together tightly, her brows knitting momentarily. With a few blinks to smooth away the worry lines, she took a deep breath through her nose and out her mouth before offering, “I-I’m coping.” A reassuring nod followed the words.

“If you need anything, I’m here. We all are.”

“Thanks sweetie, I know,” Tara lied. Dawn, yes, Dawn would be there.

“And I’m sorry I didn’t come sooner, but I wasn’t sure if I should… like if you needed time or if,” the younger girl paused, shrugging a little, “I didn’t know if you hated me.”

Tara took the girl’s hands into her own and waited for Dawn to meet her eyes, her voice slow and careful, “Dawnie. Of course I don’t hate you. Never.”

Dawn smiled softly and squeezed her hands back, before sighing regretfully, “I have to go,” Dawn said and Tara hated the relief she felt when the younger girl did, she just didn’t have it in her right now to feel guilty over how Dawn was feeling. It was too much and she was starting to feel slightly lightheaded.

“I don’t want to” the younger woman continued, “but, um, Buffy’s expecting me at the Magic Box, so, um….”

Tara winced. That had stung, that had driven home that she was no longer part of that routine, even if by her own choice. She quickly shifted to a small smile, the biggest small smile she could manage right now, letting the teenagers hands drop as she spoke, “Ok sweetie, thanks for coming by.”

“Tara?”

Please go Dawn, before I fall apart. “Yeah?”

“Can we hang out, sometime soon?”

And yet I love this girl to bits. “I’m free Saturday.”

“Great!” Dawn beamed only momentarily, “Oh wait, I um, I don’t know how to get a hold of you,” she realized, the undercurrent of regret obvious.

Tara, determined to get through this conversation intact, offered a truce to their emotions, “Three p.m. at Frenchie’s.” she suggested, a sly knowing twinkle shining in her blue eyes.

Dawn’s own blue eyes grew big and sparkled with the love of sugar. “Ice cream date?” the teen beamed.

“Ice cream date.” Tara confirmed with a nod.

“Yay! Oh, I gotta go! I love you! I’ll see you then,” Dawn called over her shoulder as she made her way down the hall.

“Love you too, Dawnie.” Tara turned to head to her next course, shaken, but feeling a little less alone. A small half-smile graced her lips.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (3/25/20)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2020 12:59 am 
Offline
5. Willowhand

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 342
Dibs! :whip
Quote:
She was tired and she knew she looked strung-out, but at least the busy day would, hopefully, force her mind to focus on something other than Willow. Something other than her abrupt and jarring relocation.

Something other than the relentless nightmares that swept in each and every night, waking her every few hours in yet another state of panic. Scenes replayed over and over again. Hands pushing into her skull, seeing Willow’s face there as she looked at her perpetrator, replacing the visage of the hell god. The bleak, angry world where she had lived in those days when the real perpetrator had thrust her into nightmare after nightmare. Dad yelling. Belts and sticks. Being pushed down on the dirt in the corral. Being pushed aside as she walked through her high school halls. Being pushed against the barn door. And the voices, all those voices reminding her that she was worthless, worthless and wrong.

Anything to distract her from the fact that she was so hungry, but couldn’t stomach anything more than crackers and tea for days.

Anything to distract her from the constant tremor of fear that itched at every nerve.

:cry My heart aches for Tara! But I also have to admit I feel it a bit unfair that in her dreams she sees Willow in the role of the "big bad" (which she hopefully will never become in your story) and "blames" Willow for all the horrible stuff she had to endure because of what Glory did to her.

Quote:
The coffee reminded her of Willow, how the caffeine would have set Willow on overdrive, coffee which had no chocolate so Willow wouldn’t touch it anyway. She missed Willow’s touch.

Great passage, showing that her thoughts almost always lead her to the ache of missing Willow.

Quote:
“I’m so sorry Tara. I’m sorry for everything. For how I acted when…. when you left,” the younger girl nearly choked on that last word. As if to say, I am so tired of losing people. Tara’s heart went out to her, but she knew she couldn’t have stayed even if would preserve Dawn’s heart.

“I understand, Dawn. I’m glad you’re here now, really glad.” At that, Dawn threw herself into Tara’s arms, squeezing her tight. Tara squeezed back with slightly less force, afraid to give in. As if withholding this comfort would help her keep from falling apart. Dawn didn’t seem to mind or notice though as she pulled back, still keeping Tara’s hands in hers. “Are you ok?”

Tara swallowed a sob and she pressed her lips together tightly, her brows knitting momentarily. With a few blinks to smooth away the worry lines, she took a deep breath through her nose and out her mouth before offering, “I-I’m coping.” A reassuring nod followed the words.

I'm also glad that Dawn sought Tara out. But it's tough to read that Tara has to fight so hard to prevent herself from just breaking down emotionally in front of Dawn.

Quote:
“If you need anything, I’m here. We all are.”

“Thanks sweetie, I know,” Tara lied. Dawn, yes, Dawn would be there.

Sad that Tara thinks Buffy, Xander and Anya wouldn't be there for her if she asked them for any help or just needed someone to talk to. Does she believe they think bad of her because she broke up with Willow? I'd think she must know that they all worry about Willow's magical use getting out of control. I was always wondering if they could have prevented Willow from getting into Rack's clutches if Tara and the others had tried some intervention together instead of all just distancing themselves from Willow. For me that (subconsciously) gave Willow the message (at least from Buffy, Xander and Anya) "We don't really care what you do with all your alone time as long as you don't endanger / bother us with messing your magic up again."


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (3/25/20)
PostPosted: Tue Mar 31, 2020 6:27 pm 
Offline
10. Troll Hammer
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2006 7:36 am
Posts: 1194
Topics: 4
Location: somewhere inbetween here and there
Poor Tara. When my anxiety reaches all-encompassing I-need-to-be-on-medication levels, my appetite drops down to nothing (which is always a sure sign I'm sick. Mentally or physically). At least I wasn't hungry or craving food.

I love the headcanons that have essentially become fanon, like that Tara is an art history or English major. It just is.

I'm so proud of Dawn here for apologizing to Tara. That always struck me as especially harsh in the show, because if anything, Dawn, fully aware that Willow's the one in the wrong, would side with Tara. She's ride or die Tara, so lashing out at her with cold anger always seemed off to me. But, oh well. So glad they have a milkshake date and that Dawn's there to show Tara that just because she lost Willow doesn't mean she lost the rest of her family

_________________
Lotus


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (3/25/20)
PostPosted: Sun Apr 05, 2020 12:06 pm 
Offline
4. Extra Flamey
User avatar

Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 173
Topics: 7
Location: Pacific Northwest
Will's redemption

Tara's subconscious, through her dreams, is merging facts and occurrences - exploring and perhaps confusing some events that have commonalities. It definitely was not written as any sort of blame - I do not think Tara would ever blame Willow for Glory's actions (although Willow would probably blame herself)

Quote:
Sad that Tara thinks Buffy, Xander and Anya wouldn't be there for her if she asked them for any help or just needed someone to talk to. Does she believe they think bad of her because she broke up with Willow? I'd think she must know that they all worry about Willow's magical use getting out of control. I was always wondering if they could have prevented Willow from getting into Rack's clutches if Tara and the others had tried some intervention together instead of all just distancing themselves from Willow. For me that (subconsciously) gave Willow the message (at least from Buffy, Xander and Anya) "We don't really care what you do with all your alone time as long as you don't endanger / bother us with messing your magic up again."


It is sad, I think these kind of insecurities pop up when we are feeling vulnerable (at least they do for me). And yes, I think a lot of what happened with Willow could have been prevented, but also, Willow wasn't listening when Tara and Giles tried, in fact, got a little mean about it. There are reasons, there always are, but she didn't make intervention easy. - I think S6 is in a lot of ways, what happens when things fall apart. And remember, I love Willow :) Thanks for your feedback!!



Zooeys_bridge


Quote:
Poor Tara. When my anxiety reaches all-encompassing I-need-to-be-on-medication levels, my appetite drops down to nothing (which is always a sure sign I'm sick. Mentally or physically). At least I wasn't hungry or craving food.


I so feel this. My appetite is the first to go when I am in deep pain or anxiety


Quote:
I love the headcanons that have essentially become fanon, like that Tara is an art history or English major. It just is.


First off- 'fanon' is an excellent word! It IS just is- part of me wanted to explore outside that, give Tara some other layer, but nope- she's an Arts and Humanities girl


Quote:
I'm so proud of Dawn here for apologizing to Tara. That always struck me as especially harsh in the show, because if anything, Dawn, fully aware that Willow's the one in the wrong, would side with Tara. She's ride or die Tara, so lashing out at her with cold anger always seemed off to me. But, oh well. So glad they have a milkshake date and that Dawn's there to show Tara that just because she lost Willow doesn't mean she lost the rest of her family


Thank you- Dawn's reaction in the show didn't seem OOC to me with all the abandonment/ loss she'd been through, but yes- she is always devoted to Tara and I think would be mature enough to seek Tara out, apologize and make things right- it's funny, Dawn is becoming such a force in this fic, I hadn't anticipated it. But she has that wonderful, if naive, youthful love and determination that sometimes the Scoobies just need. Thank you!!!





Wilderness



Author: shirrey (Beth)
Rating: PG-13 for now
Distribution: please ask
Disclaimer: I own nothing that ME created, except in my dreams
Feedback: Please leave feedback!!! It is such a gift and helps me be a better writer. But thank you for reading mostly, feedback left or not - this is also such a gift
Angst: Not so much this time :)

Notes: The story will start to be canon adjacent from here on out (more the 'on out'), time-lines may not totally follow the show and then will diverge completely. Thank you to Zooeys_Bridge for beta'ing!! Be safe and well!!




CH 10: Shadows and Light


June, 2000



“So, do you come here often?” Willow joked badly, trying anything to combat her nerves. She placed a container of grapes on a star-covered blanket, in between cream cheese rolls and a thermos of apple cider.

“Did you really just ask me that?” Tara giggled and quirked her left eyebrow. She paused her actions, napkins in a momentary hover above the blanket.

A blushing face ducked shyly, “Um yeah, cause like ‘classic line’ right? It’s what you see in all the movies, or is it just in jokes, oh god, am I being the joke?” Willow’s eyes grew as her clasped hands danced anxiously in front of her. “I don’t wanna be the joke, jokes aren’t funny if you are the joke, I mean me-you, not you-you. Cause you aren’t- and I don’t want to be- and so I’m not. No more being the joke” Willow’s expressions took the scenic route through at least six different emotions, ending with a familiar nod of resolve, although the nod was clearly from Willow to Willow.

Tara couldn’t help but laugh, her eyes kind and the bridge of her nose slightly creased. This girl was adorable. “Sweetie,” Tara slipped steady fingers between her love’s kinetic ones.“Sweetie. Are you nervous?”Willow nodded, soothed by the calm deep velvet of Tara’s voice.

Big oak leaves played in the sun, hide and seeking with the help of the wind, sending shadows to dance across Willow’s delicate features. Tara could barely contain a sob that expanded her chest, pushing out to declare such beauty. Half in shadow, half in light, wide, vulnerable eyes looked to Tara for salvation.

Tara shifted to face Willow, drawing their joined hands into her lap, “Why, darling? It’s just me.”

“There is no ‘just you’ Tara. And that’s why I’m nervous. I mean, there’s wonderful you. And amazing you. And so hot I don’t know what to do with myself you.” Willow grinned cheekily for a brief moment and she glanced to the side. She faced Tara again and spoke fervently ,“but there’s no ‘just’ you.”

The words shook Tara with their conviction- she felt her face redden with the adoring attention. “I…um…wow….” the words were stumbled, her cheeks flushed with warmth and ducked her head behind her hair.

“And so, see,” Willow continued, calmer fingers tucking Tara’s hair behind her ears. She moved her hands back into Tara’s and continued tracing the palms of the woman she adored, “I want everything to be perfect with you, because you deserve perfection, always.”

Tara cupped her girlfriend’s pixie face in her hands and drank in the endless deep emerald of her eyes. “Darling, love. That you think any of that about me is extraordinary. And I love you so much for wanting things to go well, but not if it’s going to make you uneasy, make you enjoy the experience less. Because it’s not just about me, it’s about us.”

The kiss that followed was sweet and honest, pouring together two souls in love, two individuals who found each other in the rare, precious space that only the very lucky find, the place where they become ‘us’. The kiss that followed that promised molten lava and the parting of seas.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (4/5/20)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 06, 2020 5:52 am 
Offline
5. Willowhand

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 342
Dibs! :whip
Another sweet memory of better times. Of course it's kind of bittersweet because we know how torn and lost both of our girls are in the present.

Quote:
A blushing face ducked shyly, “Um yeah, cause like ‘classic line’ right? It’s what you see in all the movies, or is it just in jokes, oh god, am I being the joke?” Willow’s eyes grew as her clasped hands danced anxiously in front of her. “I don’t wanna be the joke, jokes aren’t funny if you are the joke, I mean me-you, not you-you. Cause you aren’t- and I don’t want to be- and so I’m not. No more being the joke” Willow’s expressions took the scenic route through at least six different emotions, ending with a familiar nod of resolve, although the nod was clearly from Willow to Willow.

You catch the cuteness of Willow babble very well.

Quote:
Big oak leaves played in the sun, hide and seeking with the help of the wind, sending shadows to dance across Willow’s delicate features. Tara could barely contain a sob that expanded her chest, pushing out to declare such beauty. Half in shadow, half in light, wide, vulnerable eyes looked to Tara for salvation.

Very beautiful imagery.

Quote:
“There is no ‘just you’ Tara. And that’s why I’m nervous. I mean, there’s wonderful you. And amazing you. And so hot I don’t know what to do with myself you.” Willow grinned cheekily for a brief moment and she glanced to the side. She faced Tara again and spoke fervently ,“but there’s no ‘just’ you.”

The words shook Tara with their conviction- she felt her face redden with the adoring attention. “I…um…wow….” the words were stumbled, her cheeks flushed with warmth and ducked her head behind her hair.

Awww! :flower

Quote:
The kiss that followed was sweet and honest, pouring together two souls in love, two individuals who found each other in the rare, precious space that only the very lucky find, the place where they become ‘us’. The kiss that followed that promised molten lava and the parting of seas.

Again just beautiful! :wtkiss :bigkiss


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (4/5/20)
PostPosted: Thu Apr 09, 2020 10:39 am 
Offline
3. Flaming O
User avatar

Joined: Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:32 pm
Posts: 66
SHIRREY,.. I can't thank you and the other Kitten authors for giving us an escape in these times. Excellent update and story,.......keep it coming.
Thanks & Blessings

_________________
[font=][font=]Strength in our arms, Truth on our tongues, Clarity in our hearts[/font][/font]


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (4/5/20)
PostPosted: Sat Apr 18, 2020 4:18 pm 
Offline
4. Extra Flamey
User avatar

Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 173
Topics: 7
Location: Pacific Northwest
Wills redemption & Mother D- thank you for your feedback! Always










Wilderness



Author: shirrey (Beth)
Rating: PG-13 for now
Distribution: please ask
Disclaimer: I own nothing that ME created, except in my dreams
Feedback: Please leave feedback!!! It is such a gift and helps me be a better writer. But thank you for reading mostly, feedback left or not - this is also such a gift
Angst: yeah

Notes: The story will start to be canon adjacent from here on out (more the 'on out'), time-lines may not totally follow the show and then will diverge completely. Thank you to Zooeys_Bridge for beta'ing!! Be safe and well!!




CH 11: Just One Friend


The past week Willow had done everything she could to keep busy and distracted. She had devoured the book on transmutations and was now indulging in a newer work on translocation with an equally ravenous appetite.

Scooby meetings had been infrequent, Buffy herself had been infrequent, arriving home after Willow most nights. Willow sometimes wondered if her housemate came home at all. Dawn largely avoided her, either shutting herself into her room or out at Janice’s house. It stung, but a part of Willow had been glad, Dawn looked at her and she could see the hurt she was avoiding reflected in light blue eyes.

Willow’d had coffee with Xander a few days after Tara left. Willow felt a shudder of annoyance and betrayal as she thought of how he had acted that day. She remembered the white strain of her knuckles as she gripped her coffee mug, afraid if she loosened her grasp, she would cause a scene in the middle of the Espresso Pump. She liked the Espresso Pump and didn’t really want to be kicked out. But she had caused a scene, and left before a peeved barista had a chance to get to her.

“Maybe this should be a wake up call, Will” he said. “Tara loves you, she wouldn’t have left if she wasn’t really worried,” he said.

Willow had reacted. “If she were so worried then she wouldn’t have left!” Her anger was quick and biting, her eyes filling with tears looking to dispel some of the overwhelming emotion.

Xander had taken her hand and held it, had spoken softly, evenly. It made Willow feel like a child. “I think she’s scared, Willow. For you, yes. But also for herself. Will, what you did-"

Willow wrenched her hand out of his grip, more forcefully than necessary, and stood before him. Her voice, which started as a hiss, ended at the crescendo, “I know what I did! It was a mistake, it was a mistake and I can’t take it back! I can’t take it back Xander!” The tears were now a deluge dropping like a rainstorm off Willow’s trembling chin.

Xander had stood, hands outstretched, offering an embrace. “Will, I know,” he started, “I know how much pain you are in, I just think that there might be some things to learn from this.”

The young man felt his hands pushed away as Willow turned. He could hear the tight hitches of breath that interrupted his friend’s words.

“I didn’t need a lecture, Xander. I needed a friend. I need just one friend.” She walked slowly, leadenly, out the door, not even pausing when Xander reassured her that was always her friend.

And so, Willow spent most of her time away from the people who had so consistently been her world. A small part of herself nudged a bigger part to forgive Xander, to take in what he had to say, to recognize that he was trying to help. It nudged until it was swept away by the flood that was guilt and shame and despair, and that nudge was kept at bay on the other side of the dam Willow built back around herself.

Most nights were spent out with Amy, one-upping each other with magical dares. Late nights out meant sleepy mornings and days trying to catch up with school work and magical study. She had asked Amy how she had retained her skills after her long time as a rat. “I told you rat time is different,” Amy began before turning to Willow with a sly smile, “besides, I’m a witch. It’s in our blood.” Willow had beamed at that, the ‘our’. This was where she belonged, where she wanted to belong.

Amy was safe. Amy was fun- and most importantly, Amy was supportive. With Amy, Willow felt like she could be herself without judgment. If Willow wanted a blue drink instead of a pink one, Amy recognized what it was, a simple spell that hurt no one and made Willow happy. Besides, she and Amy were learning from each other. That levitation spell Amy had done had been wild.

Willow occupied her brain and if she thought of Tara- when she thought of Tara- she busied herself with spellwork, experimenting with different soothing charms. It was in the mornings when she caught off guard, right at that moment of waking. It was as if her defenses were too slow to rise, hitting snooze repeatedly while the reality of the loss of Tara buried Willow alive. This was the only time she cried, this was the only time she fully felt her heartbreak, until the pain inevitably kicked the defenses out of bed and they started to do their job.

Only, she had cried yesterday, during the day and well into the night. She had been so despondent, so in need of escape.

After her afternoon economics course, Willow had stood up from her seat in the lecture hall, rubbing her temples lightly as she swayed, woozy from lack of sleep. Equilibrium gathered, she proceeded out the hall doors and toward the campus coffee shop, hoping a piping hot double mocha would kick her brain into gear.

She had reached the halfway point to the Coffee Shack when she saw her. Tara was standing, arms folded protectively in a stance Willow recognized immediately. Tara’s gaze was upward, soft eyes seemingly dancing across the even lobes of leaves, reddish-brown against a late Autumn sky. Willow felt her sneaker scuff as stopped abruptly in the middle of the campus pathway. She inhaled sharply and then unwittingly held her breath as she watched Tara’s long fingers trace along the grey ridges of the oak tree. Tara’s touch was reverent and solemn, each stroke like the lines of a melancholy poem, spoken only to the oak.

Without exhaling, Willow pulled in a shaky breath then felt her tired, mushy mind begin to breakdown on itself. She stood, unmoving, a lighthouse in a sea of students who blew past her like a windstorm. Green eyes could not tear themselves away, and with every second of that look, Willow felt her dam fragment, slowly ushering in the murky waters of heartbreak and grief and loss. She stood and she was swimming. She stood and she was drowning. Until, like a buoy being tossed from the side of a ship, Willow was dislodged from her frozen, drowning state by a young woman rushing to get somewhere that was else. “Sorry!” the dark –haired girl called over her shoulder as she scurried on. Willow watched her leave, her senses still on overload, until she turned her gaze back to Tara. Tara was kneeling now, her long blue and green patterned skirt pooling at her feet, and gathering her belongings. Willow fled, darting the direction opposite from the Coffee Shack, opposite from Tara. She wondered now if Tara had seen her. If she had felt her.

Willow headed directly for the lot where Joyce’s, now Buffy’s, SUV was parked, walking so quickly she was constantly at risk of stumbling. She absently reminded herself to thank Buffy for letting her use the car. Not that Buffy had agreed, or not agreed, she had pretty much just grunted when Willow had asked. She decided to take that as a yes. The bus had been fine, but now, without Tara, the long ride just provided too much time to think. The car was quick and driving kept her mind busy.

By the time she reached the asphalt she had the keys squeezed in her right palm, ready for use. With a tense grip and eyes fixed on her destination, Willow fled. This had been the first time she had seen Tara since- the thought jolted Willow to a halt in front of the driver’s door. She momentarily placed her palm against the warm metal roof, taking deep breaths to combat the threat of the tears stinging in the back of her eyes. Shaking hands unlocked the door, and Willow drove.
She drove too fast and blared music obnoxiously, but she couldn’t think. Thinking meant falling apart. Falling apart meant unbearable pain, so Willow turned up the heavy bass of the Chili Peppers and pressed her foot down on the gas pedal.

Pulling fast into the driveway, nearly missing the mailbox, Willow jerked the parking brake, pulled out the keys, abruptly ending the blaring song, and shut the door behind her. She turned to walk to the front door and noticed Amy sitting on the front step of the porch, a bemused smile across her lips.

“What’s up, party Willow?” Amy stood with eyebrows raised in amusement, and met her halfway up the front walk.

Willow froze. In spite of the music, she had imagined herself dashing through the front and flying head first onto her bed. She had imagined wailing into her pillow, the slow jagged shards of heartbreak burrowing into her chest. This wasn’t her plan and she was at a loss of how to be. She stood, head bowed, arms crossed protectively around her torso, crinkling her jean jacket and pushing a metal button painfully against her rib. She gave a quick glance up as she shifted from foot to foot “Hey.” She mumbled, dropping her gaze back down to her shoes.

Amy frowned slightly as she ducked a little to see the tear streaked face. “What’s up? Bad day?”

With a shrug, Willow shifted again, “I just, I-“

Amy cut in, wanting to forestall the fresh tears she saw gathering in Willow’s eyes, “Hey, I wanted to see if you wanted to go for dinner. Dad is preparing for a date and I so need to not be near that.” She finished with a bright smile, hoping to lighten Willow’s mood.

“Oh, yeah,” Willow nodded, the offer reminding her of the distraction she was looking for. With a deep breath she finally raised her head, meeting her friend’s eyes. “Just, um, need a few minutes to change.”

Amy took a step back and cocked her head to the side, giving her friend an appraising look. She waved her hand in a vaguely figure eight pattern. “Fidentia induviae.” She took another step back and gave a satisfied nod, “Presto Chang-o! Let’s go-o.”

Amy snickered at herself, then admired Willow’s newly acquired outfit- flattering dark jeans and an emerald blouse with fluttered sleeves. Damn, I’m good, Amy thought with a quick blow across her fingertips.

Willow fingered the newly formed curl in her hair, taking a quick glance at her wardrobe change. “Can we go somewhere with alcohol?”

“Of course” Amy said brightly as the girls began their walk to downtown. After a pause she hedged, “What happened?”

“I saw Tara,” Willow said simply, though the deep catch in Willow’s voice as she said her ex-girlfriend’s name did not go unnoticed. She took her leather jacket, now slung across her arm, and slipped it on with a slight shiver. The air was cooling quickly in the early November evening, but the jacket was for comfort as much as the cold.

“Oh wow, lots and lots of alcohol” Amy nodded as she slipped her arm through Willow’s, directing them toward their destination at a determined, and peppy, pace. She was worried for Willow, she was sad for her. But she also really really just wanted to have a good time tonight. She had a lot of time to make up for. It’s not like the world had waited for her.

The two women settled at a small round bar table, Willow needing to use the adjoining stool to hoist herself up. Willow immediately took a large swig of her Cape Cod before she realized Amy had held her own drink up for a toast.

“Oh.” Clink. “What, um, what are we cheersing?”

There was a moment’s pause as Amy pulled in nearly half of her Whiskey Sour. With a satisfied gasp for air, she grinned at the other woman, “Freedom. And Happy Hour!”

“Well, I’m with you on Happy Hour, but freedom doesn’t seem like the right word-“ Willow cut herself off and shut her eyes briefly, “you mean, the not being a rat thing, not the me- the me nothing- yay for freedom from cages and tails and whiskers and cheese- although not really cheese cause I mean, who doesn’t like cheese? Well maybe if someone was lactose intolerant-"

This time Amy stopped her, “Will, it’s all good. And I didn’t mean just that. I know you are hurting right now but think about it, we’re young, hot, bad ass witches. The world is at our fingertips. What better time to be single?” Amy put up her hand when she saw the protest forming on Willow’s lips. “Or, maybe Tara-“ she paused and took another drink, a crinkle rising on her brow as she looked squarely at her friend, “Do you want her back?”

Willow sat back slightly, surprised by the question. “Yes! More than anything!”

“More than magic?” Amy leaned back on her seat, “That’s what she wants you to give up.”

“I know,” anxious fingers began tearing small squares out of a drink napkin. “And I’d like to think I would anything for her. But, its- its such a big part of me, I just- I need it--- to keep people safe, I just wish Tara would see, that she would understand and we could put this whole thing behind us.”

“Yeah…. Well look, she either will or she won’t.”

“What if she doesn’t?” Wide, pleading, green eyes again begged for reassurance.

“Will, I get that you love her,” Amy started, looking into her nearly empty drink, shaking the ice around to gather more liquid. She waved at a cocktail server, keeping one eye on his arrival as she continued. “But do you really want to be with someone who doesn’t want you to be who you are- to be powerful?”

There was a pause in the conversation as each girl ordered another round. Willow watched the server tuck his paper notebook into his apron and walk towards the bar before she spoke again, her voice low and confessional.

“I hurt her-"

“You were just doing what you had to.”

“No- I mean-"

“Look, Will people hurt each other. And then they decide if they can forgive each other or not. It’s that simple.”

“It just, it hurts. It hurts so much being without her. I don’t know if I can-” Willow tucked her head down and to the side, wiping away the forming tears as the server returned and placed their drinks in front of them.

Amy placed her hand on his arm, “Can we get the check?”

“Of course,” the server reached into his pocket again and placed the bill in front of Amy, he smiled and walked to the table behind them.

“You’re having a bad time, aren’t you?” Willow’s voice rose up panicked and ashamed, “ I’m sorry. I’m trying, I really am, but I can’t- ” Shakiness overtook her voice as a sob rose up. Willow caught it in her hand, cupped around her nose and mouth. She was crying again, she couldn’t seem to hold back, not after seeing Tara, after being so close and so far away from the woman she loved.

“I can’t stand feeling this way. I feel like I’m dying. Like everything in me is just rotting away.” Replaying the words in her head, Willow sighed loudly and shook her head, trying to play off the dramatic statement. Despite its truth.

She took an unsteady sip of her drink and then attempted a smile through still trembling lips, “Isn’t there a way to magic this alcohol to work faster?” She giggled pathetically, slumping her shoulders forward at the sound. Willow covered her mouth to catch a broken sob, “I can’t take it, it’s so much. I need – do you know a spell or anything? Like what you did at the Bronze? Only, I think- I need more, I just need to forget.”

Amy quirked an eye at the distraught woman, “Finish your drink. I know of a place.” She stood before Willow had a change to agree, downing her Whiskey Sour and pulling her jacket sleeves over her light sweater.

A little thrown by her friend’s abrupt move, Willow just watched until Amy raised an eyebrow at her. Willow took in the rest of her drink, sputtering as the alcohol burned in her chest. “Right behind you.”

Willow pulled her jacket tighter around her torso as she warily took in her surroundings. They were in a narrow alley near the warehouse district, walls lined with large dumpsters and enormous metal roll up doorways, all shut. The wind was concentrated in the narrow space and several degrees cooler as it rolled in off the ocean. Willow looked ahead to her friend, Amy’s chunky heeled boots clacking with each confident step.

“Um, Amy?” Willow finally hedged, her skin rippling with goosebumps. She hated the feel of this place. She wasn’t afraid, she knew she could take care of herself. But, something in her bones told her this place was- wrong.

“Shhhh. I’m trying to feel -” Amy splayed her fingers, her gaze shifting back and forth in a small arc in front of her.

“Feel what? Diseased ra- um, mice scurrying across your feet?”

“No, I’m looking for his place, it’s cloaked, but I think it’s-” Dropping her hands, Amy turned to Willow with a wide smile. She jerked her head to the empty space. “Here. Ready?”

“It’s cloaked?” Willow asked, clearly impressed. Amy nodded, eyebrows raised. “Who’s place is this?”

Amy turned to Willow and smiled, a mischievous gleam in her eyes, “Rack’s.”

Two young women stepped through an unseen door.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (4/18/20)
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:25 am 
Offline
5. Willowhand

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 342
Dibs! :whip

Quote:
“Maybe this should be a wake up call, Will” he said. “Tara loves you, she wouldn’t have left if she wasn’t really worried,” he said.

Willow had reacted. “If she were so worried then she wouldn’t have left!” Her anger was quick and biting, her eyes filling with tears looking to dispel some of the overwhelming emotion.

Xander had taken her hand and held it, had spoken softly, evenly. It made Willow feel like a child. “I think she’s scared, Willow. For you, yes. But also for herself. Will, what you did-"

Willow wrenched her hand out of his grip, more forcefully than necessary, and stood before him. Her voice, which started as a hiss, ended at the crescendo, “I know what I did! It was a mistake, it was a mistake and I can’t take it back! I can’t take it back Xander!” The tears were now a deluge dropping like a rainstorm off Willow’s trembling chin.

Xander had stood, hands outstretched, offering an embrace. “Will, I know,” he started, “I know how much pain you are in, I just think that there might be some things to learn from this.”

The young man felt his hands pushed away as Willow turned. He could hear the tight hitches of breath that interrupted his friend’s words.

“I didn’t need a lecture, Xander. I needed a friend. I need just one friend.” She walked slowly, leadenly, out the door, not even pausing when Xander reassured her that was always her friend.

I know Xander meant well, but still...when your best friend comes to you for the first time after her significant other broke up with her, you don't drive her away by basically telling her immediately "It's your fault that he / she left you!". Instead you should offer (mostly silent) support, a shoulder to cry on if wanted, an opportunity for distraction (watching a movie or TV together, playing on the computer etc.). And when after some time spent together she wants to talk about the breakup and the reasons you carefully try to give her advice.

Quote:
Most nights were spent out with Amy, one-upping each other with magical dares.

Quote:
Amy was safe. Amy was fun- and most importantly, Amy was supportive. With Amy, Willow felt like she could be herself without judgment.

So sad that Xander's insensitive reaction and Buffy's and Dawn's distant attitude left Willow with noone but Amy in her longing for "just one friend"!

Quote:
She had reached the halfway point to the Coffee Shack when she saw her. Tara was standing, arms folded protectively in a stance Willow recognized immediately. Tara’s gaze was upward, soft eyes seemingly dancing across the even lobes of leaves, reddish-brown against a late Autumn sky. Willow felt her sneaker scuff as stopped abruptly in the middle of the campus pathway. She inhaled sharply and then unwittingly held her breath as she watched Tara’s long fingers trace along the grey ridges of the oak tree. Tara’s touch was reverent and solemn, each stroke like the lines of a melancholy poem, spoken only to the oak.

Without exhaling, Willow pulled in a shaky breath then felt her tired, mushy mind begin to breakdown on itself. She stood, unmoving, a lighthouse in a sea of students who blew past her like a windstorm. Green eyes could not tear themselves away, and with every second of that look, Willow felt her dam fragment, slowly ushering in the murky waters of heartbreak and grief and loss. She stood and she was swimming. She stood and she was drowning. Until, like a buoy being tossed from the side of a ship, Willow was dislodged from her frozen, drowning state by a young woman rushing to get somewhere that was else. “Sorry!” the dark –haired girl called over her shoulder as she scurried on. Willow watched her leave, her senses still on overload, until she turned her gaze back to Tara. Tara was kneeling now, her long blue and green patterned skirt pooling at her feet, and gathering her belongings. Willow fled, darting the direction opposite from the Coffee Shack, opposite from Tara. She wondered now if Tara had seen her. If she had felt her.

:cry Poor Willow! Very powerful imagery again with her drowning "in the murky waters of heartbreak and grief and loss". I guess we will learn in the next chapter that Tara did indeed see / and or feel Willow in this moment and suffered her own heartbreak because of this.

Quote:
Amy took a step back and cocked her head to the side, giving her friend an appraising look. She waved her hand in a vaguely figure eight pattern. “Fidentia induviae.” She took another step back and gave a satisfied nod, “Presto Chang-o! Let’s go-o.”

Amy snickered at herself, then admired Willow’s newly acquired outfit- flattering dark jeans and an emerald blouse with fluttered sleeves. Damn, I’m good, Amy thought with a quick blow across her fingertips.

I know I should think: "Bad Amy!" But I have to admit my first thoughts were what exactly the spell did: did she create those new clothes out of thin air and if so, what happened to the clothes Willow was wearing? Or were the new clothes out of Willow's wardrobe and she "hexed" them on her (and the other ones into the washing machine or something)?

Quote:
After a pause she hedged, “What happened?”

“I saw Tara,” Willow said simply, though the deep catch in Willow’s voice as she said her ex-girlfriend’s name did not go unnoticed. She took her leather jacket, now slung across her arm, and slipped it on with a slight shiver. The air was cooling quickly in the early November evening, but the jacket was for comfort as much as the cold.

“Oh wow, lots and lots of alcohol” Amy nodded as she slipped her arm through Willow’s, directing them toward their destination at a determined, and peppy, pace. She was worried for Willow, she was sad for her. But she also really really just wanted to have a good time tonight. She had a lot of time to make up for. It’s not like the world had waited for her.

I like that you don't write Amy as the bad guy here. I can understand her need to make up for lost time and that she rather wants to cheer Willow up and try to "party" with her than listening to her cry about her lost love (although the latter would probably be better for Willow).

Quote:
“Will, I get that you love her,” Amy started, looking into her nearly empty drink, shaking the ice around to gather more liquid. She waved at a cocktail server, keeping one eye on his arrival as she continued. “But do you really want to be with someone who doesn’t want you to be who you are- to be powerful?”

I can somehow understand Amy's point of view here. She and Willow are witches, why should anyone have the right to tell them they shouldn't use their powers? That they have to abide to rules, sure (like "don't use your powers to bring harm to others" or "don't use your powers for personal gain" - I dimly remember those kind of rules from the series "Charmed") - but asking them to stop using magic alltogether or to only use it in emergencies? If I were a witch I guess I would oppose to that kind of demands, too.
I always felt the sudden "magic use turns you into an addict"-arc somehow forced. In Seasons 4 and 5 Willow and Tara practiced magic together without problems and used spells in "everyday situations" (saying "fiat lux" instead of using a flashlight f.e.). And in Season 7 it was okay for Willow to just let some tropical plant appear in England and later in the season Buffy complained because she didn't dare to use magic. But in Season 6 it was suddenly: Willow, you used too much magic, now you're an addict and therefore shouldn't use any magic from now on, not even in emergencies!"

Quote:
“You’re having a bad time, aren’t you?” Willow’s voice rose up panicked and ashamed, “ I’m sorry. I’m trying, I really am, but I can’t- ” Shakiness overtook her voice as a sob rose up. Willow caught it in her hand, cupped around her nose and mouth. She was crying again, she couldn’t seem to hold back, not after seeing Tara, after being so close and so far away from the woman she loved.

“I can’t stand feeling this way. I feel like I’m dying. Like everything in me is just rotting away.” Replaying the words in her head, Willow sighed loudly and shook her head, trying to play off the dramatic statement. Despite its truth.

:cry I really wanted to reach into the story and hug Willow at this moment!

Quote:
“Um, Amy?” Willow finally hedged, her skin rippling with goosebumps. She hated the feel of this place. She wasn’t afraid, she knew she could take care of herself. But, something in her bones told her this place was- wrong.

Oh Willow! You really should have listened to your instinct and left this place while you still had the chance!

Quote:
“It’s cloaked?” Willow asked, clearly impressed. Amy nodded, eyebrows raised. “Who’s place is this?”

Amy turned to Willow and smiled, a mischievous gleam in her eyes, “Rack’s.”

Two young women stepped through an unseen door.

Noooo!

I don't want to read about Willow's experiences at Rack. Feel free to skip to the morning after.
I'm really wondering when you will diverge from canon, will Willow still get Dawn hurt after her next visit to Rack? If so I really hope Tara will be there to help Willow through her withdrawal. It always felt wrong for me that she wasn't there for Willow when she needed her the most.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (4/18/20)
PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 12:55 pm 
Offline
4. Extra Flamey
User avatar

Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 173
Topics: 7
Location: Pacific Northwest
Wills redemption:

Quote:
I know Xander meant well, but still...when your best friend comes to you for the first time after her significant other broke up with her, you don't drive her away by basically telling her immediately "It's your fault that he / she left you!". Instead you should offer (mostly silent) support, a shoulder to cry on if wanted, an opportunity for distraction (watching a movie or TV together, playing on the computer etc.). And when after some time spent together she wants to talk about the breakup and the reasons you carefully try to give her advice.


After reading your comments, I wonder if I was too harsh on Xander but from we (mostly didn't) see from the show it seems like no one was really there for Will-and she wasn't even really dealing at first. I think so much of S6 is that adult part of us that has to fragment because we all start having our own stuff to deal with- our world gets a little bigger HOWEVER, Xander is a rotten friend here, and he should have done better

Quote:
I know I should think: "Bad Amy!" But I have to admit my first thoughts were what exactly the spell did: did she create those new clothes out of thin air and if so, what happened to the clothes Willow was wearing? Or were the new clothes out of Willow's wardrobe and she "hexed" them on her (and the other ones into the washing machine or something)?


Official answer: the clothes themselves changed into other clothes, so nothing was lost, just morphed
Unofficial answer: I didn't even consider that lol

Quote:
I like that you don't write Amy as the bad guy here. I can understand her need to make up for lost time and that she rather wants to cheer Willow up and try to "party" with her than listening to her cry about her lost love (although the latter would probably be better for Willow).


Thank you. I always think characters are far more interesting when they are complex, there are reasons behind actions always. I am hoping to do that justice.

Quote:
Noooo!

I don't want to read about Willow's experiences at Rack. Feel free to skip to the morning after.

eerrrrmmmmmmmmm.... well they don't go right away....

Quote:
I'm really wondering when you will diverge from canon, will Willow still get Dawn hurt after her next visit to Rack? If so I really hope Tara will be there to help Willow through her withdrawal. It always felt wrong for me that she wasn't there for Willow when she needed her the most.


I am at this point, only about 10 chapters ahead, there have been small tweaks to the timeline so far and it is about to maybe ... run adjacent to but not in line with canon... then will drop away

As for Tara and helping Willow, I have a lot of thoughts lol, but am going to save them for the story.

Thanks so much for always leaving your thoughts! They are a pleasure and always give me things to think about!!






Wilderness



Author: shirrey (Beth)
Rating: PG-13 for now
Distribution: please ask
Disclaimer: I own nothing that ME created, except in my dreams
Feedback: Please leave feedback!!! It is such a gift and helps me be a better writer. But thank you for reading mostly, feedback left or not - this is also such a gift
Angst: Possibly the highest it gets in this fic (maybe)

Notes: *** This part deals with possibly triggering events dealing with mental health. The story will start to be canon adjacent from here on out (more the 'on out'), time-lines may not totally follow the show and then will diverge completely. Be safe and well!!






CH: 13 Melting


“What are you gonna get?” Dawn asked excitedly, her blue eyes wide as took in the overwhelming offerings of ice cream on display. “I can’t decide between Vanilla Gummi Bear Swirl or Chocolate Caramel Decadence,” she continued, not pausing for an answer. The girl was bouncing from foot to foot, long brown hair swishing thickly as she looked between the tubs. Her eyes scrutinized the cold food like she had missed some vital piece of information that would tip the scale toward one flavor over the other.

Where does she put it all? Tara shook her head bemusedly at the kinetic teenager. She stood back, feet away from the display case, the excessive smell of the sugar cones was already making her nauseous, and she couldn’t bring herself to peer at the offerings.

“Tara?”

“Hmmm?”

“Did you decide on a flavor?” Dawn asked, her voice almost cautious and definitely concerned. She was a smart young woman, she had to have seen the noticeable amount of weight Tara had lost just over the past two weeks. She would know that Tara hadn’t been eating well. Janice had always told her that the best weight loss program was the ‘break-up diet’ but Dawn didn’t think one pound was worth the pain Tara was trying to hide.

“No, sweetie, I’m ok.” Tara offered with a shake of head, pushing her lips into a small smile. She was determined to have this go well. Dawn had done nothing wrong and Tara didn’t want to punish her for the actions of her caretakers. And she missed the girl acutely. Dawn was family and Tara loved her dearly.

Her sigh was bittersweet, the love she felt mixed with the sharp awareness of their separation. A tinge of jealousy and betrayal ran through Tara. She had left because of Willow, had had to move away from living with this precious girl because Willow had so devastatingly broken her trust. It was unfair. And she yearned for that feeling of home, of being with her family. And how she yearned for Willow, her bones ached for the other woman’s touch. But she was still so angry, hurt beyond measure.

I am still there for her, Tara reminded herself, her thoughts turning back to Dawn, I will always be there for her. She shook her head, once again, clearing thoughts in the crowded mind She looked up at the younger woman.

Dawn was so readable, she was never able to hide her emotions, if she even tried, and Tara saw a look of sorrow in the girl’s eyes. Tara relented, not wanting to worry the sweet teen, “W-well, um, m-maybe j-just a scoop?”

In truth, Tara wanted nothing else than to get outside, away from the bustle of the shop and the over saccharine smells assaulting her senses. She didn’t want Dawn to worry, the younger girl had had so much worry, too much worry, for a person her age, but the guilt she was feeling about it was pushing into a space too overcrowded by emotions. She needed to get into the open air, now.

“Y-you ch-choose, okay? I, I-I need some fresh air” Tara said backing toward the door, before spinning, almost stumbling on hurried feet. She sat on the bench just outside and leaned her body over her legs, trying to calm erratic breath. Dawn arrived a few moments later with a scoop of ice cream and a cup of water. The teen sat gently next to Tara, extending the cup toward the blond.

“Here,” she offered gently, “I thought you might need this.”

Shaking hands wrapped around the white paper cup, as Tara brought the liquid to her lips. “Thank you.” She sat a bit straighter, exhaling slowly through her nose. “That helped, Dawnie. I’m sorry, I just got, uh, a l-little light headed there.” She smiled weakly and gave a self-depreciating eye roll.

“No big,” Dawn replied with a shrug that was much more a play of nonchalance than true ambivalence, “You still wanna-” her head tilted and nudged up toward the outdoor seating in front of them.

“Yeah, let’s.” Tara agreed, standing on shaky feet, moving to turn, her unfocused mind on auto-pilot. She stepped back to be clipped by a man marching past her, his angry voice biting at whoever was at the other end of his cell phone. He shot Tara a quick, chiding look as he carried on with his tirade. Tara was trying to breath from her belly again, her anxiety reignited, when she heard it.

“You better watch your steps, girl,” the phone man’s voice rose in Tara’s mind, drowning out every other sound. She felt her vision shift as she stumbled backward onto the bench. Her breathing quickened, staccato, as her body started to shake. Tara forced her head down into the position she had been in only minutes before, but the rising panic would not relent. She vaguely heard a worried voice calling to her, “Tara? Tara what’s wrong? What can I do?”

Other voices overlapped cramming into Tara’s brain. “Is she alright?” “Do you need 911?” “Is she on drugs?” “What’s wrong with her?”

Tara pushed through the onslaught and, grabbing Dawn’s hand, pleaded, “Get me out of here, please.”

Dawn didn’t hesitate, Tara’s voice was shaky and graveled, her eyes wide with fear. Pushing her right arm under Tara’s left. The teen led them away from the small crowd and into the service alley behind the shops. Tara's stare was fixed as she made her way to a parking block, using a shaky hand to ease her way down. She started to sob, wracking bursts cutting through sudden incoherent babble.

“I'm seeing it again, in my head, in my dreams. I’m trying, I’m trying.”

“Tara, what? What are you seeing?” Dawn’s face blanched with the terror of helplessness, “Oh my god.” She had only ever seen Tara like this when Glory had…. But there was no hell god here and Tara had been fine, until she wasn’t. Dawn wondered if this was something left over from that time, or if Willow had somehow screwed with her mind. Again, the teen thought bitterly, screwed with her mind again.

“I don’t know what happened,” Tara mumbled, words pouring out like a rush of water over rocks, “Th-the flowers, I couldn’t, I can’t, I keep seeing- it keeps happening, it -”

Dawn felt her heart ache as she took in the pain coming from her friend, her caregiver, her surrogate mother.

“I’m calling Buffy.” It was the only thing she could think to do.

Tara looked up through frantic eyes, “NO!” The thought of anyone else seeing magnified her terror.

“Please Tara, I don’t know what to do” Dawn pleaded, her voice thick and shaken.

“Ohhhhhh Dawnie, oh god , hurt you, I didn’t want to go, I didn’t want, I can’t, my mind, it’s not mine, they take it, they take it.” Large blue eyes, blood shot and watery, stared into Dawn, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”

Tears flowed as Dawn’s heart pounded in fear and uncertainty. She wanted to respect Tara’s wishes, but this was bad, this was really bad, and she wasn’t equipped to deal with it. She turned and stepped four steps to the right, quickly dialing her cell phone. The call was answered quickly, and Tara could vaguely hear rushed quiet words seeping through her mental fog. The voice nearly as panicked as hers own had been.

Red sneakers stopped before Tara, and Dawn kneeled before her. She spoke, soft and hesitant, “Buffy’s on her way, I’m sorry Tara.”

Buffy, Willow’s Buffy, Tara thought, and pieces fell together. “Don’t tell Willow! You can’t!” she demanded desperately.

“I won’t Tara, I promise.” Dawn reached out cautiously and took Tara’s hand. “Buffy will promise too, just something is wrong and I don’t know what to do.”

The feel of Dawn’s hand pushed through the fog and Tara looked up, meeting Dawn’s eyes, the clouds in her eyes dissipating. Tara fully took in the younger woman’s state, concern for the scared, trembling girl pushing a little of her panic aside.

Tara swallowed, her tongue catching against the dry roof of her mouth, “W-water, can you get?”

Dawn stood, uncertain, her eyes shifting between her friend and the shop behind her, “I don’t want to leave you.”

“P-panic attack, I’ll be ok,” Tara tried to reassure, she knew this feeling, and as much as Tara felt as if she was toppling over into madness, she knew it would eventually pass, “P-please. It’ll h-help.”

Unsure of what else to do, Dawn relented. “Ok, I’ll just be a minute,” she said, feet already rushing to complete her task.

As the teen walked swiftly back to Frenchie’s, Tara wrapped her knees to her chest, rocking as she kept up her mantra to herself, “I’ll be ok, I’ll be ok, I’ll be ok.”

Dawn winced as she heard the sound, the last word rising to a keen, she began to run to her destination, wanting to return as fast as she could. As Dawn flew around the corner to the shop, she saw Buffy, full Slayer speed, charging towards her. Dawn ran past the front door of the ice cream shop and into Buffy’s arms. “I’m so glad you’re here!”

Buffy squeezed her sister tight before straightening her arm, hands on Dawn’s shoulders holding the girl a foot away from her. Buffy gaze was steady, “What’s going on, Dawn? Where’s Tara?”

“She’s down the alley,” Dawn pointed a shaky finger in the needed direction, “At the end. Something’s wrong Buffy”

“And you just left her?” Buffy flared.

“No! She-she needed some water, she said it would help,” Buffy watched as guilt spread across Dawn’s features, immediately regretting her quick judgment. “I wouldn’t have-“ Dawn continued, but Buffy stopped her with a firm but gentle hand on her sisters shoulder.

“It’s ok, Dawn, its ok, go get her water.” At that, Buffy turned full speed, ready to race down the alleyway.

“Buffy!” Dawn shouted. Buffy stopped, a slightly annoyed look on her face, this wasn’t the time for sidebars.

“Go slow,” Dawn said, and it was enough, Buffy understood then.

Buffy eased to a slow walk, stepping sideways with her hands down and splayed, head dipped as if approaching a frightened animal, “Tara?” she said softly.

Tara looked up at Buffy but said nothing, too afraid that trying to speak would unleash her nerves again. She was glad to have the Slayer there, nothing would hurt her then, but Tara didn’t know how to process Buffy being there. Buffy, who is Willow’s best friend. Buffy, who they pulled out of heaven- who hasn’t been the same since. Tara followed Buffy’s movement as she squatted to her eye level. Tara dropped her eyesight, still fighting the last surge of panic. Buffy laid her hands on Tara’s knees, but instead of soothing the young woman, Tara flinched.

“Sorry” Buffy whispered, shifting her body’s weight back until she sat on the ground, giving Tara some space. Tara’s head shot up as she sucked a bit of air in audibly, a contained gasp.

“N-no, i-it’s ok, B-b-b” Tara sighed then, tears pricking the back of her eyes. She hadn’t been able to even get close to moving past B, her body refusing the air needed to form the sound. Face flush with embarrassment, Tara pushed on, “I, just, n-need, need a m-minute,” she breathed out slowly.

“Ok, am I ok here?” Buffy asked indicating her place on the ground, keeping her voice even. Tara just nodded and concentrated on her breathing as Dawn returned with her water.

“Here you go, Tara.” The cup was huge and almost filled to the brim. The absurdity of its size and thoughtfulness of the gesture helped Tara concentrate on the present. She took the offering with a grateful flick of her eyes and drank in large gulps. Finally, Tara set the cup by her side and she pulled in three long breathes, placing her hand on her abdomen to focus its flow. She looked at her surroundings, vaguely mindful that her world seemed to be reforming, like oil gathering on still water. Slowly, Tara stood and looked to Dawn, then Buffy. “I’m okay.” Tara nodded her head, reassuring herself of the truth of that statement.

Standing to meet her gaze, Buffy tipped her head slightly, “You sure?”

“Yes. I just want to go home.”

“Okay, we’ll take you.”

Tara nodded again, giving no argument. The presence of the Summer’s sisters felt like a lifeline, and Tara didn’t want to be alone just yet. Dawn held Tara’s hand the entire walk back to Tara’s dorm. The walk had been quiet, the chaos running through Tara’s body just a short time ago had burned itself out and now she was heavy and silent in her exhaustion. As they slowed in front of Dormer Halls, Tara gave Dawn’s hand a slight squeeze before slipping her hand out and tucking it under crossed arms.

“Thank you both,” she said, whisper quiet. “I feel r-really stupid,” she continued, giving a small crooked smile that didn’t reach her tired eyes. Dawn placed her hand on Tara’s right upper arm and squeezed once in comfort and reassurance.

“No need, Tara,” Buffy stated, “but I’m gonna walk you up. Dawn, can you wait for me here? Or you can start home if you want.”

“Buffy, she should come…” Tara’s eyes pleaded, quickly glancing toward Dawn and back. It was important that she be included, that the young woman knew that what she had just helped Tara through had not been taken for granted.

Buffy sighed, knowing she had reacted out of routine. The one that says, ‘Dawn stays away from the heavy stuff. The routine of being the Slayer. Adrenaline that had built up from before was starting to drop away in large doses, and as it did exhaustion took over. So quickly, Buffy felt weighted and tired. But they had to get Tara inside. Buffy looked to her younger sister and jerked her head, indicating the direction of the door.

The three women walked silently in single file up two flights of stairs to Tara’s new dorm room. The approach of this new space made Tara feel like a stranger to the sisters behind her. This space was separate.

“Did, um, you want to come in?” Tara asked, her tone indicating that she wasn’t sure which answer she preferred.

Buffy opened her mouth to speak, but Dawn’s words cut her off, “Just for a minute. To make sure you’re ok.” Tara nodded and wordlessly unlocked the door, shutting it behind Dawn as the younger girl followed her sister inside.

“I like your room, Tara.” The teen said taking in sparse walls and a well made bed.

Bless this girl. “Thanks Dawnie.”

“It’s somewhere to be, right?”Buffy asked, the words tinged with a cynicism she hadn’t meant to seep through. She wasn’t even sure if she was talking about the room.

“Yeah,” Tara sighed, seeing Dawn wince at her sister’s words, “It’s somewhere to be.”

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (5/4/20)
PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2020 12:53 am 
Offline
5. Willowhand

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 342
Dibs! :whip
Poor Tara!
Quote:
“You better watch your steps, girl,” the phone man’s voice rose in Tara’s mind, drowning out every other sound.

I guess that reminded her of her father and therefore triggered her panic attack?

Quote:
Dawn wondered if this was something left over from that time, or if Willow had somehow screwed with her mind. Again, the teen thought bitterly, screwed with her mind again.

A sad sign how much Dawn has turned Willow into the "villain" into her own head and is only blaming her for the breakup of her "surrogate parents" that she instinctively thinks Willow might be to blame for Tara's frantic state here, too.

I'm so glad Dawn was there for Tara and that she called Buffy and also thought quick enough to stop Buffy from bursting into the alley in "slayer mode" which would have scared Tara even more.

Quote:
“Go slow,” Dawn said, and it was enough, Buffy understood then.

A good sign that Buffy's emotional state has vastly improved after her resurrection that she understood what Dawn meant so quickly and then instinctively sat in some distance from Tara to give her silent support without pressuring her.

Although I'm glad that Dawn and Buffy were there to help Tara in this situation I'm wondering how this will influence their behaviour if Willow still hits "rock bottom" with her addiction and needs their help. Knowing first hand how much Tara suffers after the breakup might make them blame Willow for that even more and even less inclined to help Willow later. But I guess I'll have to wait and see.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (5/4/20)
PostPosted: Wed May 06, 2020 1:19 pm 
Offline
4. Extra Flamey
User avatar

Joined: Thu Jun 15, 2006 10:19 am
Posts: 180
Location: Wales
I love this story so far, as depressing as it is. Can't wait for more!

_________________
- I am a poster girl with no poster, I am 32 flavours and then some -


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (5/4/20)
PostPosted: Sat May 16, 2020 2:57 pm 
Offline
4. Extra Flamey
User avatar

Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 173
Topics: 7
Location: Pacific Northwest
Will's redemption

Quote:
A good sign that Buffy's emotional state has vastly improved after her resurrection that she understood what Dawn meant so quickly and then instinctively sat in some distance from Tara to give her silent support without pressuring her.


I am walking kind of a tightrope with Buffy in this, fingers crossed I can pull it off- I think though, Buffy was in Slayer-mode, it helps her be more aware

Quote:
Although I'm glad that Dawn and Buffy were there to help Tara in this situation I'm wondering how this will influence their behaviour if Willow still hits "rock bottom" with her addiction and needs their help. Knowing first hand how much Tara suffers after the breakup might make them blame Willow for that even more and even less inclined to help Willow later. But I guess I'll have to wait and see.


I love how protective you are of Willow :) I think it's natural for people to take sides, especially someone as young as Dawn, but that doesn't mean there isn't room for that to change. And in the end (and most important) they love Willow- all of them.

leftindust

I am so glad you are liking this!!! despite the depressing :)






Wilderness


Author: shirrey (Beth)
Rating: PG-13 for now
Distribution: please ask
Disclaimer: I own nothing that ME created, except in my dreams
Feedback: I would love it!! It is such a gift and helps me be a better writer. But thank you for reading mostly, feedback left or not - this is also such a gift
Angst: mid
Notes :So, I wanted to write another flashback to maybe cushion some of the angst- and it is about halfway done- but it just isn't coming to me (and it seems I can't not bring in a little angst- I may have issues ), so on with the regular story. The story will start to be canon adjacent from here on out (more the 'on out'), time-lines may not totally follow the show and then will diverge completely. Be safe and well!!




Ch 14: Restless



Willow was restless. Restless and unfocused. This weekend had been set aside to catch up on her studies. She had used a specific red marker and written it on her calendar and underlined it three times, in a different red marker, to remind her how important this time was. The girl who had never missed a deadline, who had all her papers written at least a week before they were due, had fallen behind. She now had three papers waiting to be researched, outlined, and produced, all due before the Thanksgiving holiday only four days away. It wasn’t like her and she knew it.

Shaking her hands in front of herself, Willow tried to distract away the pull of the magic books that sat on her dresser, mere feet away. Her feet were fidgety and legs on a constant pulse as she anxiously waited for the sun to go down. Rack only took clients in the later hours of nighttime. The anticipation of going there was the only thing keeping her from falling apart. She craved the escape. Escape from what she knew, deep down, was the tick tick tick of a time bomb, lodged in her gut, fueled by the razor sharp sorrow housed in her soul. It simmered, this sorrow, it ran through her blood like screams and pushed up under her skin and, one day, Willow knew she would explode and there would be nothing left of her. So she grasped desperately at the escape Rack’s magic gave her. Magic that allowed her to push away her terror, her gnawing grief, and to just float into an unawareness that was both numbing and euphoric. It was like nothing she’d ever experienced.

She picked up her Computational Biology text and tried pacing while she studied, anything to keep her restive body occupied. Her thoughts would not be so easily harnessed. They drifted over her studies and shifted back to the thrill of being there, at Rack’s, of having access to his kind of power. Most people, most witches, didn’t get to experience this level of magic use. But Willow Rosenberg wasn’t most witches, she was clever and powerful, and she felt like she had earned her way into a secret club. Willow liked the feeling of belonging. She liked feeling like she was at a magical level where she could finally protect her friends. Protect Buffy from dying. Protect Tara from losing her sanity. Protect herself from losing Tara again.

Schoolwork had been pushed aside to maintain these feelings. Through magic. Studying it during the day and experiencing it into the late hours of the night. Sleep became an afterthought, creeping in when the effects wore off and Willow would feel a crushing fatigue. It made focusing while in class near impossible.

So she had giving herself a timeline, set aside these days. And she couldn’t get her head around any of it. Pictures in her mind kept away hope of concentration. She saw Buffy, turning at the Bronze, her hazel eyes a storm of sorrow and pain as she confessed that she had been ripped out of heaven. Guilt flooded Willow’s slender frame and she redoubled her efforts. Buffy’s face shifted to Tara’s and she saw the tear heavy blue eyes. Those soulful blue eyes, eyes whose depths had offered an eternity of grace, eyes that now refused to look at her. Unable to pull herself away from these painful memories, Willow shook her head, effectively giving up the attempt to read.

School work set aside, Willow placed a tome from her dresser in her knapsack and grabbed her jacket off the back of her desk chair. With a quick swirl of her wrist, the window curtains closed and Willow set out for the Magic Box, thinking that a change of setting might help her clear her mind.

She considered using magic to complete at least a few of the papers before deciding she would give it one more try tomorrow. She could pick up some benzoin resin while at the shop, it was good for spells of focus and enhanced academic success.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (5/16/20)
PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 2:14 am 
Offline
5. Willowhand

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 342
Dibs! :whip
Quote:
She craved the escape. Escape from what she knew, deep down, was the tick tick tick of a time bomb, lodged in her gut, fueled by the razor sharp sorrow housed in her soul. It simmered, this sorrow, it ran through her blood like screams and pushed up under her skin and, one day, Willow knew she would explode and there would be nothing left of her. So she grasped desperately at the escape Rack’s magic gave her. Magic that allowed her to push away her terror, her gnawing grief, and to just float into an unawareness that was both numbing and euphoric.

Quote:
Most people, most witches, didn’t get to experience this level of magic use. But Willow Rosenberg wasn’t most witches, she was clever and powerful, and she felt like she had earned her way into a secret club. Willow liked the feeling of belonging. She liked feeling like she was at a magical level where she could finally protect her friends. Protect Buffy from dying. Protect Tara from losing her sanity. Protect herself from losing Tara again.

:cry So sad! Willow so desperately needs to be saved and there's no savior in sight...

Quote:
She considered using magic to complete at least a few of the papers before deciding she would give it one more try tomorrow. She could pick up some benzoin resin while at the shop, it was good for spells of focus and enhanced academic success.

You know things are really dire when Willow contemplates cheating via magic when it comes to "school stuff"...

I'm kind of hoping that Willow will encounter Xander, Buffy or maybe even Tara at the magic box - it might trigger the emotional meltdown Willow fears but maybe that's exactly what she needs to get out of the "trap" of magical overuse and Rack's clutches.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (5/16/20)
PostPosted: Fri May 29, 2020 2:23 pm 
Offline
4. Extra Flamey
User avatar

Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 173
Topics: 7
Location: Pacific Northwest
Wills redemption: First off, thank you again for your continued feedback - I look forward to it :)

Quote:
You know things are really dire when Willow contemplates cheating via magic when it comes to "school stuff"...


they really are.





Wilderness




Author: shirrey (Beth)
Rating: PG-13 for now
Distribution: please ask
Disclaimer: I own nothing that ME created, except in my dreams.
Feedback: I would love it!! It is such a gift and helps me be a better writer. But thank you for reading mostly, feedback left or not - this is also such a gift
Angst: mid
Notes :Thank you, as always, to Zooeys_Bridge, my wonderful beta and friend. And thank you to those reading, I see the numbers go up and that makes me very grateful.




Ch 15: Demons


The knock at the door raised Tara out of her nap. Unsure of who would be visiting her, she approached cautiously, despite the fact that whoever was on the other side of the closed door wouldn’t be able to tell. Slowly, she opened the door to see Buffy, her ponytailed hair and solid shoes indicating that the Slayer was on her way to patrol. Either that, or she’s here to kick my ass, Tara thought only in partial seriousness, knowing how protective Buffy could be about Willow.

“Buffy, hey.” Tara’s brow crinkled slightly as she tipped her head slightly to left and waved the other woman inside.

“Hey, Tara,” Buffy returned, taking in the rumbled clothing and slight glazed looked Tara was wearing, she cringed apologetically, “Were you sleeping?”

“Mmm,” Tara half nodded, half shrugged, “I was half-asleep.”

“Mmm,” Buffy repeated, “I just, well Dawn… we wanted to make sure you were ok. So, I’m doin that, checking in.” Buffy shifted her weight from foot to foot, her attention clearly split and she looked, to Tara, like she would rather be anywhere else.

A mixture of shame and hurt ran through Tara as she ducked her head, eyes fixed on the short beige loops of carpet at her feet, “Tell D-Dawnie I’m fine, th-thankyou for checking on me.”

“Ok,” Buffy responded, preparing herself to leave. She turned, grateful that she wasn’t being asked to comfort Tara. . Dawn had practically begged Buffy to check in on Tara and at the time it hadn’t seemed like a big ask. But an uneasiness had settled into Buffy as she made her way toward Dormer Hall. Before, Tara had been sick, it was physical and there were actions to take. The Slayer had taken charge. But now, Buffy was just a woman who had encased herself in nothingness, who had nothing to give. It wasn’t that she didn’t care, she just didn’t care enough, because after being brought back to life those few months ago, nothing seemed that important anymore. And yet, everyone kept wanting from her, asking her for more.

At this she paused at Tara’s door. She isn’t asking for anything, she never does, Buffy realized. With an audible exhale, Buffy pulled slightly out from the walls she had built for herself, unable to shut out Tara’s ache; simply because the other woman was asking for nothing. Buffy turned around to again face her friend. She looked, really looked at Tara, who stood in a flowy black cardigan, arms wrapped so tightly around herself she was almost cocooned.

A sudden mental image brought a short burst of laughter from Buffy’s mouth. Tara looked up sharply, staring directly at the woman who seemed to be mocking her, silently daring her to continue. Buffy waved her hand in front of face as if her mirth was an irritating fly, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry,” Buffy continued to giggle, “It’s just you look like a bat.” She gestured vaguely toward Tara.

Tara met this comparison with a raised eyebrow, “And,” Buffy continued, “I’m on my way to patrol, and bats, vampires,” she continued, waving her hand to try and demonstrate the connection, losing her steam along the way. “I just thought it was fitting that I was here, and for some reason it was really funny in my head.”

“You, um, may w-want to think about getting a hobby,” Tara raised the left side of her mouth, left eye squinting as if to meet the slight smile. Buffy returned with a slight grin, her fleeting amusement gone, but there was still a spark of warmth in her eyes. The silliness had broken the awkwardness down, if only a notch, and she and Tara regarded each other.

A sudden and audible intake of air signaled that Tara was about to speak. The familiarity of the action elicited a small smile from Buffy.

“I do appreciate you being here Buffy, making sure I’m ok, I’m s-sure it can’t be comfortable.”

“It’s n-,” Buffy started to protest, then sighed through her nose, “Everything’s kind of uncomfortable right now Tara.” Her tone was matter of fact, but the words struck Tara soundly.

“I’m so sorry, god Buffy, if we knew, I w-well, if I knew, if I had had any idea…” A worried burrow creased Tara’s brow and she shook her head side to side.

“You didn’t know,” Buffy reminded, not softly but not accusing either, “Besides, we’re not here to talk about that.” Crossing the carpeted floor to sit in Tara desk chair, Buffy indicated she intended to stay.

“I didn’t think there was an itinerary,” Tara let out with what was meant to be a giggle and turned out a mirthless, breathy laugh.

Buffy folded her hands in her lap and leaned forward, her full attention on Tara now, “How are you, really?”

“Um- I-I’m coping, you know, it’s hard, but- it’ll take time, right?” Tara moved to the end of her bed and sat, mirroring Buffy.

“Tara, I’m sorry to say this, but you look like death, believe me I’ve seen…. Sorry, have you been having a lot of these attacks?”

“N-no, not like that,” Tara reassured. She wanted to talk to someone, she needed to. After so many years of silence, of locking emotions inside, Willow had shown her the power - the gift - of being heard. But Buffy wasn’t Willow. She was Willow’s best friend. Willow’s friend. It wasn’t like there were sides, but there were loyalties. And Tara wasn’t sure she had the right to ask for any loyalty from Buffy.

“Should I be ruling out the Hellmouth?” Buffy asked.

“I-I don’t think its- its anything like that,” Buffy saw Tara pull into herself. Tara’s head lowered, hidden behind loose locks. Her arms pressed against her sides, hands nervously squeezing together in her lap where she had crossed her legs on the bed. Tara’s voice was even, almost detached, even as it softened, “Th-these, um, I used to get, h-have them. They got worse for a while after my m-mother died.”

Buffy studied Tara’s hands, fingers twisting and pressing, “I’m so sorry.”

“I kn-know you know how h-hard that is,” Tara looked up quickly, the understanding of those who have lost their mothers unspoken between them. “I did-didn’t know wh-what they were,” Tara sighed out, “At first.”

Buffy felt horrible about it, but she wanted to run, these reminders, this pain pulling her back to the fact that she had been ripped out of paradise. It hurt. But Buffy hadn’t heard Tara stutter like this since her family… Oh god, Buffy realized, Her family.

Tara had been Dawn’s family even before Buffy died, she still was the best adult in Dawn’s life, Giles included. She owed Tara to stay. As much as she wanted to bolt, to find Spike and forget, she cared enough to stay. With hesitation Buffy asked, “What did you think they were before?” She started to move her hand to Tara’s shin, hoping the touch would comfort her, but her reach stalled and Buffy pulled back.

The almost touch left a void, and Tara pulled her knees up to fill it, pressing them into her front body, arms wrapped securely around them. Tara shifted her gaze to the right, brow knit in consideration of how much she could share. She rocked herself back and forth a few times.

Then, with a deep inhale, she began, “I th-thought they were - the…” Tara couldn’t say it. Her eyes lowered to the floor and her mouth slightly opened, allowing more breath and protecting her from suffocating on the pain.

“Demon?” Tara looked up at Buffy’s direct question, “You thought it was the demon?” Buffy’s hazel eyes met Tara’s blue as Tara slowly nodded. Shadowed eyes dropped again as Tara bit her lip nervously. Buffy shook her head slightly, still disbelieving how cruel humans could be to each other, as cruel as any demon out there.

“My, um,” Tara continued, surprising Buffy, “My f-father said that my mom used to h-have them too, that it made her s-sicker, that it was the demon, f-fed by our magic,” Tara shook her head, soft wisps of hair caressing her shoulders, “I n-never saw it, but I knew she would get so s-stressed, so maybe.”

“So when did you realize what it really was? When did you stop having them?” Buffy’s voice was gentle and it was only partially forced.

“Freshman year I took a Psych course, l-learned about panic attacks and d-did more research, but even then, there- a was p-part of me that still believed, because I felt so out of control when they happened. I would have t-times when I c-couldn’t con-connect with my body. My momma helped with that, the magic, the meditation, it let me feel whole again. And I learned to con-control them when around my father, mostly. I had to.” Tara shook her head, “Today caught me by surprise. I, um, I stopped h-having them after my twentieth birthday.”

Buffy paused. She nodded her head, taking in what Tara was sharing with her, then with hesitancy asked, “Do you think they came back because of Willow?”

“Yes, but not just be-because I left, it’s like I am being haunted by things, things I thought had put behind me. I thought I w-was stronger.”

“Tara, what you’ve been through, the fact that you are who you are today, that is the strongest thing I have ever seen.” Buffy paused, “I told Dawn, before…. I told her that the hardest thing in this world was to live in it, to be strong, be brave. So, as role models go, you are pretty much tops for strong and brave.”

“Thank you,” Tara whispered, Buffy’s praise causing a bashful flush that reddened Tara’s cheeks.

Finally making contact, Buffy placed her hand over Tara’s still clasped hands. “You gonna be okay?”

Tara looked up from behind her hair and nodded, accepting the concern offered her. ”Yeah, I’ll be okay,” she added.

Tara stood and walked Buffy to the door. The two women embraced and Tara lightly caught Buffy’s arm as the other woman turned to go. “Buffy, please don’t tell Willow.”
She asked for loyalty.

The Slayer regarded her with understanding, “I won’t.”

“Thank you, for, you know” Tara exhaled as she sighed, her blue eyes darting up and away.

“You’re family, Tara, that hasn’t changed.”

A small smile, both grateful and wistful, graced Tara’s lips. She nodded. “Say thanks to Dawn for me?”

“Of course, take care of yourself.”

Tara watched the door close behind Buffy. She remained facing the door as she sat on her single bed, placing her clasped hands in lap. She knew she had to deal with this, wishful thinking that it would just pass on its own was going nowhere. She needed to face these demons.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (5/29/20)
PostPosted: Tue Jun 02, 2020 12:12 am 
Offline
5. Willowhand

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 342
Dibs! :whip
I'm glad that Buffy checked on Tara and that Tara confided in her.
Quote:
Buffy felt horrible about it, but she wanted to run, these reminders, this pain pulling her back to the fact that she had been ripped out of paradise. It hurt. But Buffy hadn’t heard Tara stutter like this since her family… Oh god, Buffy realized, Her family.

Tara had been Dawn’s family even before Buffy died, she still was the best adult in Dawn’s life, Giles included. She owed Tara to stay. As much as she wanted to bolt, to find Spike and forget, she cared enough to stay.

This is an important step for Buffy, caring for the emotional wellbeing of another person again.

Quote:
“Tara, what you’ve been through, the fact that you are who you are today, that is the strongest thing I have ever seen.” Buffy paused, “I told Dawn, before…. I told her that the hardest thing in this world was to live in it, to be strong, be brave. So, as role models go, you are pretty much tops for strong and brave.”

Well spoken, Buffy!

Quote:
Tara stood and walked Buffy to the door. The two women embraced and Tara lightly caught Buffy’s arm as the other woman turned to go. “Buffy, please don’t tell Willow.”
She asked for loyalty.

The Slayer regarded her with understanding, “I won’t.”

“Thank you, for, you know” Tara exhaled as she sighed, her blue eyes darting up and away.

“You’re family, Tara, that hasn’t changed.”

A small smile, both grateful and wistful, graced Tara’s lips.

I really liked this interaction. But it left me with the nagging doubt if for Buffy and Dawn Willow has subconsciously lost the status of family member, considering that neither of them seems to care how she is feeling / doing anymore. Sure, Tara is easier to care for right now, obviously and somehow quietly suffering - caring for Willow would be more difficult, she might react aggressively if they asked her how she was doing (in my mind I have the picture of a trapped and injured dog who growls and snaps at someone trying to help it).
Also I'm a bit miffed that Tara doesn't seem to be even a bit worried about Willow's wellbeing. If you leave the love of your life because he/she has a drinking problem you don't just stop worrying for him / her. Tara couldn't cope with Willow's magical overuse but now all she worries about is that Willow mustn't know about her panic attacks? That seems somehow odd to me.
(No offence meant - you already pointed out how protective I feel for Willow).


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (5/29/20)
PostPosted: Mon Jun 08, 2020 4:52 pm 
Offline
10. Troll Hammer
User avatar

Joined: Mon Dec 04, 2006 7:36 am
Posts: 1194
Topics: 4
Location: somewhere inbetween here and there
Okay, so a little more on the latest chapter (and sorry for totally slacking on the cross-posting of FB on platforms and general FB in general)

I think part of my reasoning for why I loved this chapter so much is my deep love for Buffy/Tara moments. Family makes it pretty clear that aside from Will and Dawn, none of the other Scoobies really click with Tara. There's no animosity behind it, she's just new, and came in through Willow, and they haven't yet had a chance to get to know her as her own person. Plus, she's an awkward turtlebear, so that 'getting to know you' process is bound to be rather stilted and drawn out.
But the other side of Family is that it also cuts through that 'getting to know you' bullshit and gets at the heart of what Buffy is all about. It doesn't matter if her and Tara aren't bbfs. She understands and sees her. There's a clear, deep communication.
We don't get to see it deepen until The Body, but everything about that moment too just...gets me. Tara in that episode is absolutely exquisite (I'm preaching to the choir here, I know). She's achingly empathetic, tender, and supportive, not just to Willow, but Xander (I think "It hurts," is one of my favorite lines in the series). There's an understanding there. And it isn't until that moment with Buffy that it all falls into place.
The moment between them is thick with a physical discomfort. Their body language is stilted and stiff, as is the conversation. But Tara stumbles through it, past her stammer, to reach out, even if it makes her uncomfortable. It's the only gift she can think to offer. But it's the only true moment of connection Buffy really has in the entire episode.
They always cut through the getting to know you's and small talk to the most important things with each other. What Xander and Buffy learn in The Body is they might not 'get' Tara, but she's got them. And through that, they've got each other.
And I think that's where my love for this chapter comes from - because we get to see them have Tara this time. Buffy's still suffering and going through her own deep depression, but they recognize something in each other, and Buffy comes to check on her. Even if it's mostly Slayer habit, the moment ends up unfurling into something more from that, into something that they both find they need, a balm of friendship that they were both probably uncertain of, given how Willow stands metaphorically in-between them.
I just....Buffy and Tara, man.

_________________
Lotus


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (5/29/20)
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 1:52 pm 
Offline
4. Extra Flamey
User avatar

Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 173
Topics: 7
Location: Pacific Northwest
Wills redemption: Thanks for your feedback. I am glad that you liked the Buffy/Tara interaction

Quote:
But it left me with the nagging doubt if for Buffy and Dawn Willow has subconsciously lost the status of family member, considering that neither of them seems to care how she is feeling / doing anymore. Sure, Tara is easier to care for right now, obviously and somehow quietly suffering - caring for Willow would be more difficult, she might react aggressively if they asked her how she was doing (in my mind I have the picture of a trapped and injured dog who growls and snaps at someone trying to help it).


I like your metaphor for Willow- she is definitely feeling defensive and rightfully so in some ways. But also, Willow did a really bad thing to Tara,there were reasons yes- and I will explore those- but right now, it is still just a week or so after and I think Buffy has her own issues and some of those revolve around Willow- not necessarily fairly all the time, but Buffy has been through a lot too- they all have

Quote:
Also I'm a bit miffed that Tara doesn't seem to be even a bit worried about Willow's wellbeing. If you leave the love of your life because he/she has a drinking problem you don't just stop worrying for him / her. Tara couldn't cope with Willow's magical overuse but now all she worries about is that Willow mustn't know about her panic attacks? That seems somehow odd to me.


It's funny because in my mind Tara doesn't want Willow to know because she DOES care about her, because she doesn't want Willow to worry. Otherwise, why ask Buffy to keep it from her? But I did not explicitly write it that way so it's definitely open to interpretation. And no, you don't stop worrying about a loved one with a problem, but if that loved one abuses you (with that problem- twice) and now you are spiraling into panic attacks, I think you get to be selfish for a little bit. I hope I have shown that Tara still cares in previous chapters, but I also wanted to give Tara her own tale since it pretty much solely revolved around Willow in the show.



Quote:
(No offence meant - you already pointed out how protective I feel for Willow).


You are entitled to your opinion and I am not offended at all. I do worry that you are not going to like this story much for the next several chapters though. I am writing this fic as a delve into what happened after Tabula Rasa, for both of our heroines. I have discovered that I am a very slow writer - both in how long it takes me to get stuff out and in the timing of the story- it's meant to be a deep dive and that is going to take a while- it starts in a bad place, it starts in a place where lots and lots of healing and communication and love is needed- but it will take work to get there, so I hope you stay with the story- but Willow will be dealing with some rough stuff for a bit (although I do think we see some changes soon in both her and other characters perspectives) all the characters will. Except Spike. But he's barely in this so far.



Zooey's_Bridge

Damn I love how you break down Tara's role in The Body, and in effect in the show- the observer, the empath, the healer, the sage. The quiet and steady roots that anchor the grand Scooby tree. My appreciation for Tara and Buffy's friendship has definitely grown from 'aw sweet' to 'wow, that is real connection' I think Buffy is at her softest and most vulnerable with Tara. Thank you for your continued presence!





Wilderness




Author: shirrey (Beth)
Rating: R (NOTE THE CHANGE)
Distribution: please ask
Disclaimer: I own nothing that ME created, except in my dreams.
Feedback: I would love it!! It is such a gift and helps me be a better writer. But thank you for reading mostly, feedback left or not - this is also such a gift
Angst: mid

Notes :This is another flashback, or remembrance or thing that happened before present fic time. I wanted to have this finished a while ago and fit it in earlier so it made more sense thematically with the story, but the world is on fire right now, so priorities shifted...
Set in February, approximately 10 months prior to the current fic time.

Thanks to my beta- I added a little cold element for you ;)





Approximately 10 months earlier



Ch 16: February




February has always been an anomalous month. Still and dark, the quiet death of winter and the quieter birth of spring, all seemingly lost after the fanfare of the new year. Except to witches, who knew that in early February, the earth was alive making way for struggling seeds.

There was, of course, Valentine’s Day, and that holiday certainly could have been a day of planting seeds, especially if looking at its possible Roman origins, but neither Tara nor Willow chose to celebrate it. Willow hated the hearts and saccharine capitalism. Tara saw the good in people expressing love but was always bothered that beautiful flowers had been rushed through their natural growing cycle, or grown in artificial settings, so people could hand them out in the middle of winter, just to toss them a week later. They’d decided that it was unnatural, and so spent the day with Chinese take-out a few lesbian romance movies- Willow insisted she needed those for her “gayducation”. They’d made love under the slanted light of the half- moon which had fanned across their bed. Really it was like every other night, or most of them anyway. Still, despite the light protest, the fact that it was Valentine’s Day affected them, and they both knew, that this first V- Day together as an official couple was a milestone- and that they were very very lucky.

The part about that was on Willow’s mind was that it’s also the one month that actually got cold in Southern California- and Willow was suffering. Wrapped in thermals she only really kept around for these few weeks, she was huddled next to the space heater, turning every few minutes to try and spread the warmth as she and Tara studied. Well, Tara was studying at the desk, and Willow was watching her from her place on the floor. Next to the heater. Tara was definitely in serious study mode - she was wearing her thinky face and everything. That face always made her smile. Each time Tara stopped typing, a small crinkle would form between her brows and she would chew on her full bottom lip, releasing it to mouth words silently- as if just thinking wasn’t enough to fully form what she wanted to convey. Willow was loving every nuance of expression on her love’s face; her love, who was in nothing more than a sweatshirt and pajama pants. Willow shivered looking at Tara so exposed to the elements, or at least the air inside their dorm. Air was an element. And that element was so cold. Just look at her nipples. Or feel them, rather, as they masochistically tried to cut their way out of Willow’s thermal top.

But it wasn’t Tara’s lovely features or her under-dressed state that kept pulling Willow’s gaze her way. It was always a reason, but right it wasn’t the only one. Willow was worried. She knew it was silly, knew it was probably nothing, but logic didn’t stop her insides being all twisty. It didn’t help her busy mind as it tripped over itself with catastrophe. Tara was busy and Willow wanted to respect that, but she had to say something before she blurted something stupid. Closing her textbook and pushing it to the side, Willow pulled the wooly blanket around her body, scooting even closer to the blessed, but tiny, heater, as she watched Tara some more. She needed to find the words so they, she, could get past this. In fact, she decided, this might take more than words. It took some maneuvering to get up while not disturbing the blanket, and her walk to Tara was much more like a shuffle, not unlike a penguin, which in this weather?

Appropriate.

Willow reached her destination and snuck out an arm, braving the cold to loop it around Tara’s neck. She kissed behind Tara’s left ear, “Baby?”

“Hmm?” Tara asked, still focused on the screen before her, but she did lean into Willow’s embrace. It was an unconscious move, like gravity joining the planets in orbit. The attraction of love that is reciprocated. Despite the lean, the distracted response made Willow pause. It would be harder if she had to share Tara’s attention. But she had gotten half Tara’s attention, and saying ‘Nothing’ would make Tara concerned. Neutral ground then. Well as neutral as hypothermia could be.

“It’s so cold, how can it be this cold?” Perhaps it was the tone in Willow’s voice, one that indicated that she was miserable, or maybe it was light kisses that were being dotted down Tara’s neck. Either way, Tara stilled her hands and tipped her neck further to the side, exposing the soft skin to allow more butterfly kisses. Willow increased her attention with a grin - now they were getting somewhere.

Slim fingers wove into Willow’s hair before Tara pulled back slightly and with a twist of her torso pressed their lips together in a playful kiss. Tara teased her tongue across Willow’s bottom lip, giving it a slight nip, before Willow met Tara’s tongue fully, caressing it with her own. Tara mewled in delicious satisfaction as they parted and the sound permeated Willow, leaving her heady and high, a silhouette in an opium haze. She couldn’t remember why she had come over to Tara, and she didn’t care, until Tara snickered. It took a moment for Willow to understand as she watched Tara trying to fight a grin, lips twisting valiantly until she was too amused and gave in. Willow was offended, in a mock ‘I know you’re teasing me but I also know you love me’ kind of way.

“Did you just snicker at me?” If more than one arm had been free, Willow would have put her hands on her hips. One would make enough of a point. Since she wasn’t really mad anyway.

If anything, the response only increased Tara’s amusement because now she was laughing, “Sweetie, you look like a burrito,” and giving Willow, by way of her woolly blanket, a playful tug, added “It’s not that cold.”

“It’s 45 degrees!!” How had Tara possibly missed the fact that it was arctic. Tara wrapped her arms around her girl.

“My poor baby, It’s a good thing there are no actual seasons here, you wouldn’t survive.”

“I would if you were there to snuggle me,” Willow’s bottom lip pushed out, assuming full pout position as she tipped her head coquettishly. Willow needed Tara’s attention right now, so she threw in some fluttering eyelashes for good measure. On most other days, Willow would have respected Tara’s need to work, in fact, she encouraged it, brainy women were hot and Tara was already hot so add studying to the mix and- yowza! But today, tonight, Willow needed reassurance, and the need wouldn’t stop bothering her.

“Darling, I will always be there to snuggle you, and trust me I am tempted, but this paper is due Thursday- I have to get it done.” With a final squeeze, and a small kiss on Willow’s covered chest, Tara released her and turned back to the computer.

“But that’s like two whole days away,” Willow offered, resting her chin on her girlfriend’s shoulder and reading new words appear across the screen. She tried to keep the desperation out of her voice as she continued, “Maybe a day and a half now, but you have no classes after 4 tomorrow so – look how much time you have.”

Tara closed her eyes as she leaned her head against Willow’s, fully aware that her love was being uncommonly persistent, “This coming from ‘Miss I have all my papers written a week early or I can’t sleep at night Rosenberg’ ?”

“Just wanna snuggle my one and only baby, who I love more than anything.” There was something in the way Willow was speaking- it was her ‘I’m leading up to something’ tone. But Tara’s momentary bemusement was kissed away in little flutters that caressed her face and neck. Intoxicating. Distracting.

Tara groaned with the effort of denying this woman. Either Willow was feeling very very frisky or something was bothering her. The fact that Willow had strayed away from the blessed heater reinforced her suppositions. Either was possible. Probably both. “I love you too darling and I’d really rather…”

And now Willow was feeling guilty. How many times had she rebuffed an affectionate Tara when she’d had papers due in the next few weeks? Well, not often, but it happened, and what if Scoobyage was needed tomorrow? Tara shouldn’t be left out because Willow had taken this time from her. Getting work done early was partly so that they wouldn’t be scrambling the night before and then miss a deadline because someone was trying to end the world. It all made Willow a little panicky. She was panicky anyway, for a Tara related reason. Tonight was just going to be a panicky night, but at least Tara could get her paper written.
She resigned herself with a sigh and left one more kiss on the top of Tara’s head, “I know, I’m sorry. You need to be studious,” before moving back toward the heater. Tara watched her go. Something was wrong. Willow wasn’t the best at hiding her emotions, they colored her voice and her painted on her features, but even if they were subtle, Tara could read her. This wasn’t just disappointment about not being able to snuggle.

“Baby, you ok?”

“Just getting’ toasty,” Willow said as she scooted next to the heater, pulling the blanket tighter. But she wasn’t looking at Tara, and there was just a hint of that tone that Willow couldn’t hide and it made Tara frown with concern. Tara left her chair and went to Willow, sitting behind her and wrapping her body around the huddled form of her love.

Willow knew Tara was coming to her, and she felt elated and guilty. And silly. Now that she’d gotten Tara’s full attention, she felt ridiculous for being so needy in the first place. Suddenly, she didn’t want things to be such a big deal. So, she snuggled into the warm arms and went for humor instead. Besides, it was fun to tease Tara, “Ha! It worked.”

Tara had to wonder if she’d just been played, even if the game was mutually beneficial. She didn’t think so, something was bothering Willow, but if her girl wanted to be that way…. With a playful slap on Willow’s arm, Tara shuffled back, loosening their embrace.

“Vixen.”

She wasn’t going to return to schoolwork, not now, but she could make Willow wonder, or hopefully share what was on her mind. And it worked. Two strong hands flew back, holding onto Tara's forearms, effectively stopping her movement. Willow pushed herself back into a firm embrace.

“No, baby, please, I just … I need you to know how much I love you.” Willow spoke with soft conviction that tugged at Tara’s heart. They both held on tighter and Tara swayed them gently back and forth.

“I do know that, what’s going on darling?”

“I just-,” Willow hesitated and snuggled in impossibly more, “It’s been, like, five days.”

Tara was silent for a moment. Willow could imagine the slight pensive crinkle as Tara worked it out. Then.

“Oh,” that hadn’t been expected. Tara loosened her hold a little so she could lay her chin on Willow’s shoulder, mirroring their earlier position. Tara thought of how to respond, this was obviously bothering Willow. “I guess so. That’s what’s bothering you? We’ve gone a few days without before.”

“A few. Not five.”

“Ok,” Tara kissed Willow’s hair, “And that makes you worry. Are you worried that I don’t want to? Because that is so definitely not the case.”

“I know I’m being silly. We’ve both been busy. There’s so much going on.”

“But?”

“Riley left.”

Tara blinked, her mouth opened and closed trying to find something to say, but the Riley thing confused her, “I’m not sure what to do with that, sweetie. What does that have to do with us?”

“It just got me thinking, and that thinking led to worrying and then,” Willow shrugged, “The no sex. I just don’t want us to drift apart like Buffy and Riley did.”

“Baby,” Tara soothed, head tilted as she looked at Willow. Willow leaned back and to the side, gaining a better view of her love and the brief flicker of worry in her wide, deep green eyes faded at the gentle look she was given. It calmed her and the words fell loose.

“And I keep telling myself I’m being silly or a worry-wort, and I don’t want to be silly or,” Willow frowned, “a wort. Of any kind. And I know I love you and I know you love me, and I know that should be enough and it is. It so is. It’s more than enough. It’s everything even.”

Tara held her, listening. And Willow went on. “It’s just, I love you so much sometimes, I-I worry that it’s going to go wrong. That something will happen. And when Riley left, I mean, I wasn’t 100% surprised, but they seemed to be doing ok. And then-” Willow paused and let her gaze fall to the floor and when she looked up again tears formed in Tara’s eyes, clinging to her lashes. Because in Willow’s eyes was that same shimmering gaze, her lips pressed and tweaked fighting the fall of her own tears.

Tara used her hands to move so she was facing Willow. Legs still entwined, she crossed her ankles behind her girlfriend, using heels resting against the soft flesh of Willow’s butt and urged Willow closer into their cocoon. Tara cupped Willow’s cheek, her thumb tucking away an errant strand of hair and caressing her ear before weaving her fingers upward into soft fine red locks. Just once, just enough to make Willow shiver. Then, with her hand on the nape of Willow’s neck, Tara brought Willow forward meeting her lips in the in between. Tara pressed fiercely as she gathered Willow in her embrace, her arms slipping into the wool tortilla blanket and tightening around Willow’s back. With strong hands she fitted their bodies together. It was possessive and generous, a gentle admonishment and a fierce promise. It was the purest response Tara could give.

But Tara didn’t stop giving. She lifted the sweatshirt off her own body, tossing it on the bed and Willow shivered in sympathy. A small place in her mind remembered the chill in the air, her body had already forgotten.

Tara unwrapped Willow from her blanket, rubbing her arms briskly to keep her warm, before pulling Willow’s nightshirt off, red strands waterfalling from the collar and settling on Willow’s bare shoulders.

Tara said nothing. But, through her touch, her lips, her shallowing breath, Tara defined her Truth. She smoothed her tongue across Willow’s lips, parting them and pushing inside, soothing, sucking, dancing their tongues together. She sifted her fingers through Willow’s hair, gathered the strands and tangled them in her fists. She stood, darkened eyes locked with Willow’s own and pulled the fabric of her pants down, hooked her underwear by her thumbs and followed their path, leaving both articles pooled on the floor. Willow reverberated in a breathless whisper as her own bottoms were slid down and then away. Tara dropped her head and sucked Willow’s nipple firmly into her mouth, taking, reminding. Tara showed her Truth when they were naked and Tara held Willow once again with her legs. Entwined. Exposed. Tara read Truth in small bumps of Willow’s sensitive skin, Tara’s hands reading them. Memorizing with touch where bones sculpted her flesh.

Tara kept Willow pressed to her, one hand between Willow’s shoulder blades, the other trailing between her breasts, in a diagonal across her stomach absorbing the flutter of Willow’s want. Tara trailed her hand through damp red curls, caressing the wetness just below. And then, as she entered Willow, as two fingers slid into warmth and stilled, Tara spoke, “I love you.” Then Tara moved in her.

Willow arched, her body restrained in Tara’s arms, breasts flushed together, taught nipples meeting, kissing. The clicking sounds of the heater were smothered by Willow’s moans. Her head thrown back, hips thrusting on stroking fingers. Tara held her from within. And when Willow peaked, desperate hands clenching and unclenching on Tara’s shoulder blades and in her tousled hair, a mantra rose in Tara’s voice, a sacred chant: “I love you, I love you, I love you.” Lost with one another they tumbled in an eternity of ecstasy and conviction.

Finally, they eased each other down with soft kisses and delicate caresses, drifting like feathers to solid ground. Two souls, overwhelmed with joy, reflected in wet glistening eyes, green and blue. Willow felt her chest expand, filling with gratitude and faith for Tara, wondering if she would burst from the pressure. “I love you,” Her breath shuddered as foreheads touched, “Thank you, Tara, thank you.”

Tara lifted Willow’s chin and met her eyes, held her gaze with the truth of them. Then, as her lips formed a half-smile, she leaned in and dotted Willow’s face with quick, playful pecks until Willow laughed, giddy and free. Willow tapped the tip of Tara’s nose and mirth sang in her tired voice, “I thought you were writing a paper.”

“I was keeping you warm,” Tara retorted. She moved to wrap herself closer to Willow’s body when Willow’s body twisted herself away, “Oof, why is this thing still on?” she asked, stretching out and catching the switch on the heater with just the tips of her fingers, clicking it off. Willow turned back, fanning herself with her hand, air puffing from her lungs, “I’m roasting!”

Tara burst into laughter, leaping at Willow. In one fluid motion Willow threaded her hands into Tara’s hair, catching her as she cupped the back of Tara’s head and pulled her into a searing kiss Together, they sunk to the floor.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (6/15/2020)
PostPosted: Mon Jun 15, 2020 10:54 pm 
Offline
5. Willowhand

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 342
Dibs! :whip

Quote:
I do worry that you are not going to like this story much for the next several chapters though.

Thanks for the warning. I did like this chapter very much, a nice trip down memory lane with fluffy and smutty parts and some deep emotions behind them. On the one hand we have the deep love between those two, on the other Willow's fear that she might lose Tara's love (or Tara herself), a fear that (at least subconsiously) influenced her behaviour even more after Tara was attacked by Glory in season 5 and is probably one of the main reasons for her "downfall" into magic addiction.

Quote:
“Sweetie, you look like a burrito,” and giving Willow, by way of her woolly blanket, a playful tug, added “It’s not that cold.”

“It’s 45 degrees!!” How had Tara possibly missed the fact that it was arctic.

Does Willow mean it's 45 degrees outside? If it were the room temperature I would understand Willow's need to seriously cuddle up...

I once again loved the beautiful imagery in which you desribed their intimacy, my favourite lines are:
Quote:
“Baby?”

“Hmm?” Tara asked, still focused on the screen before her, but she did lean into Willow’s embrace. It was an unconscious move, like gravity joining the planets in orbit. The attraction of love that is reciprocated.

Quote:
Tara showed her Truth when they were naked and Tara held Willow once again with her legs. Entwined. Exposed. Tara read Truth in small bumps of Willow’s sensitive skin, Tara’s hands reading them. Memorizing with touch where bones sculpted her flesh.

Quote:
Finally, they eased each other down with soft kisses and delicate caresses, drifting like feathers to solid ground.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (6/15/2020)
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 3:54 am 
Offline
3. Flaming O

Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:38 pm
Posts: 81
Hi Shirrey / Beth

I've been missing from the board for a few months. Imagine my absolute delight to find an indepth, meaty and substantial story to read.There was woo and there was hoo! Thanks for making my Sunday morning. And wow are you playing with my emotions, making me remember the soaring highs and devastating lows of their relationship.

The angsty, post break up scenes capture so heart renderingly the emotional turmoil, the hollowness, the emptiness and the despair that follows a break up. Tara's turmoil and overwhelming sadness seeps from the prose. I really like how you intersperse the angst with flashbacks of happier and lighter times, the deliciousness of falling in love, the flush of a new relationship. The chapter ending in the first kiss......wow! I can't wait to see where and how you're going with this, but I'm along all the way for the ride.

Just an aside. One of the terrestrial channels has picked up Buffy here in the UK so I'm diving headfirst into the series again. It's less scary than this shitstorm in the real world that we're facing now.


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (6/15/2020)
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:17 am 
Offline
4. Extra Flamey
User avatar

Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 173
Topics: 7
Location: Pacific Northwest
Wills_redemption:

Quote:
I did like this chapter very much, a nice trip down memory lane with fluffy and smutty parts and some deep emotions behind them. On the one hand we have the deep love between those two, on the other Willow's fear that she might lose Tara's love (or Tara herself), a fear that (at least subconsiously) influenced her behaviour even more after Tara was attacked by Glory in season 5 and is probably one of the main reasons for her "downfall" into magic addiction.


Thank you!! I write the flashbacks in part to relive the onslaught of ouch after Tabula Rasa, but then it often turns bittersweet when I try to connect it the narrative (one of these days I will just write some smut for smut's sake or at least pure fluff). I absolutely think Willow has an ingrained fear of abandonment and it shapes a lot of her actions.

Quote:
Does Willow mean it's 45 degrees outside? If it were the room temperature I would understand Willow's need to seriously cuddle up...


Yeah I meant outside (which 45 is brrr for sure), you are right otherwise lots of blankets and snuggles would be needed- I am a SoCal native and so many people just cannot hang if the weather drops below 60 (and I am that weirdo that loves the cold).

Thanks so much Wills_redemption, this next part has a little influence from you in it :)



NorthernLass

Hello!!!

Quote:
I've been missing from the board for a few months. Imagine my absolute delight to find an indepth, meaty and substantial story to read.There was woo and there was hoo! Thanks for making my Sunday morning.


THANK YOU for making my Sunday morning!! I am so glad you are enjoying it, its an area I have wanted to explore for years and was finally encouraged by another writer here to do so.

Quote:
The angsty, post break up scenes capture so heart renderingly the emotional turmoil, the hollowness, the emptiness and the despair that follows a break up. Tara's turmoil and overwhelming sadness seeps from the prose. I really like how you intersperse the angst with flashbacks of happier and lighter times, the deliciousness of falling in love, the flush of a new relationship. The chapter ending in the first kiss......wow! I can't wait to see where and how you're going with this, but I'm along all the way for the ride.


"seeps from the prose" might get stolen and put into this story ;) thank you so very much. I am glad to have you here.

Quote:
Just an aside. One of the terrestrial channels has picked up Buffy here in the UK so I'm diving headfirst into the series again. It's less scary than this shitstorm in the real world that we're facing now.


I think having a thousand angry bees chasing me is less scary that what is happening right now and Buffy readily accessible is definitely of the good!!





WILDERNESS


Author: shirrey (Beth)
Rating: PG
Distribution: please ask
Disclaimer: I own nothing that ME created, except in my dreams.
Feedback: I would love it!! It is such a gift and helps me be a better writer. But thank you for reading mostly, feedback left or not - this is also such a gift
Angst: mid

Notes : Back in post Tabula Rasa time, Thanks as also to Zooeys_Bridge! and to Amber and Alyson who gave these characters such beautiful life.The chapter numbers might be a bit off, numbers make my brain hurt so we'll just call it purposefully quirky :g: EDITED to add: I promise to fully adhere to Kitten board rules, which means, Willow and Tara= happy and together. They just have some stuff to work through first :) BLM



Ch 17: Those We Knew


Awkward. Everything felt awkward and it was pissing Willow off. She had arrived at the Magic Box hoping to refocus herself in a neutral but homey place, but from the moment she walked in Anya had been squirrely. The shop owner had been both overly-friendly and stand-offish, asking too many questions about Willow’s intent with the benzoin resin and then watching her out of the corner of her eye for the next forty-five minutes as Willow read.

Xander arrived just as Anya was flipping the open sign to close and the awkward became uncomfortable. The lifelong friends exchanged pleasantries and idle chit chat but every word held a tone of the strain between them. Since their argument, they had only seen each other briefly at the few Scooby meetings that were held. They had played their parts - Willow studious, Xander making goofy inappropriate remarks - but there was something shallow in the way they interacted. Willow thought back to Freshman year when the group started drifting apart, how hurt she had been back then, feeling deserted by her found family. She rolled her eyes as she watched Anya guide Xander behind the cash register, her hand cupping his elbow. Willow felt out of place. It was strange, she had been in this exact chair reading at this table and had watched Anya and Xander sneak off to the side countless times. Couples did that. Tara and I used to all the time, she thought before closing her eyes tightly and stopping the flow of bittersweet memories. Instead, a flush of loneliness imbued her, its effect rushing like air released and finding every corner of her insides to fill.

Quickly, she shook the feeling off, as she lifted her head and jutted out her jaw. I’m in a different place now, Willow reminded herself, I know I’m important and they need me.

The confidence she had summoned faded as soon as she saw Anya’s quick eyes darting between where she sat and Xander’s face. When Xander also shot a look in her direction, she felt the hairs on the back of her neck ripple. With a mumbled incantation, the whispered conversation was now distinct to Willow’s ears.

“What do you mean?” She heard Xander question.

Anya darted her eyes toward Willow again before leaning in closer to her fiancé, “She makes me nervous.”

“Why?”

“I just, I don’t know how to be around her anymore,” Anya wrung her hands together, her left thumb rubbing into the other palm.

Xander shot a quick glance at his friend before turning his back more fully toward her and confessed, “She’s definitely been on the big magic-mama train-“

That was all Willow needed to hear. She quickly ended the amplification spell, shoved her book in her bag, and left the store. The bell rang, muting Xander’s voice calling her name. The door slammed with a thud.

Willow marched down the street, her mind buzzing as her body tightened with anger. Over and over, she told herself that she didn’t need this. She was stronger, she was powerful and capable. She thought about the summer, how she had taken Buffy’s mantle, led the group the best way she knew how. It had all been on her shoulders and she had stepped up.

And now?!, And now, they don’t know how to be around me anymore?? her thoughts were furious as both hands tightened into fists. Fucking HYPOCRITES!!! Fucking ungrateful hypocrites!!!

Wearing an obvious scowl, Willow fumed her way back to Revello Drive, kicking two different trash cans along the way. The view of the TV flashing through the large curtains slowed her steps and she panted, not even realizing she was out of breath. Dawn was home. She didn’t want to bring this into the house; Dawn had finally stopped edging around her and Willow didn’t want her foul mood to ruin anything. She rolled her shoulders back once and counted her breaths until her heart beat slowed. Calmer, she walked up the front steps and keyed into the house.

Dawn turned quickly hearing someone come through the door. She was mid-stand, an expectant and worried look on her face as Willow stepped into the living room. Dawn visibly deflated and she sighed “Oh” disappointedly, and sank back into the couch.

“Not who you were expecting?” Willow asked, trying to mask the sting from Dawn’s reaction.

“Oh, sorry,” Dawn mumbled, pulling her legs in tighter as she burrowed under a blanket, “I’m just waiting for Buffy.”

Willow regarded the teenager, her brow knitting slightly as she realized how tense the girl looked.

“Dawn?”

“Yeah?” the teen asked, her voice impassive, her eyes still glued to the TV, effectively ignoring the older girl.

Willow waited, trying to figure out what was happening. After a few moments of silence, Dawn turned her head toward Willow, wondering why she hadn’t finished her question. Blue eyes looked up, red-rimmed and puffy and Willow rushed forward; sitting at the end of the couch.

“Dawn, what’s wrong, sweetie?” Willow placed a hand on the top of one of Dawn’s covered feet, squeezing lightly.

“Oh, um, I- just watching a sad movie” Dawn replied, avoiding Willow’s gaze and shifting her own eyes back to the TV screen. She gently tugged her foot back from under Willow’s touch.

Willow didn’t turn her head to check the screen, she could hear what sounded like a rerun of Party of Five. Sure, it had its share of ‘very special episodes’, but Dawn was distraught and her explanation rang false. With a sigh, Willow rose, realizing that Dawn wasn’t going to share with her, not like she used to.

She turned to go upstairs when a sudden chill ran through her. Dawn saw Tara earlier. Buffy had said they were having an ice cream date.

Voice trembling, Willow forced the question out, not knowing what Dawn’s reaction would be, but fearing and needing an answer.“Is- is,” she began, “ I mean, it’s not Tara, right?”

“What?”Dawn squeaked, looking at Willow for the second time that night.

Willow shifted her stance and rubbed her palms together. She suddenly felt like this wasn’t her business, and that shamed her, but she couldn’t not know, “I mean, you saw her today right? Is- is she ok?”

“She’s-“ Dawn faltered, moving her gaze back to her lap. Tara was hurting so much, something was really really wrong and Dawn wanted her to be okay. And maybe Willow could make it okay. Except, Willow was why Tara was – what? Dawn questioned herself. Sad? Broken? Destroyed? Tara never said it was related to Willow. But, Dawn thought, it had to have been the breakup. Seeing Tara so distraught Dawn had thought maybe it was a lingering effect of that memory erasing spell Willow did, but no one else seemed affected, so…. And if it was something else entirely? No one knew Tara like Willow. It was true, right now Willow wasn’t Dawn’s favorite person but maybe, she realized, that wasn’t totally fair. If she hadn’t known Willow practically her whole life, she could have, would have, shut the metaphorical door on Willow, but that wasn’t the truth. The truth was that Willow had always been good to her, even when Dawn was a nosy 5th grader trying to hang with the cool high school kids. Dawn had looked up to Willow, at least until Faith had come along and her admiration shifted to the rebellious and confidant Slayer. And look what happened there. But with Willow, they’d shared a love of knowledge and books. Willow had even gotten she and Dawn matching Ravenclaw scarves. What if it was something else? Tara might need Willow. They were split now, but Dawn couldn’t believe it would last forever. They were… Willow and Tara. It didn’t get more right than that.

Once more, Dawn looked up at Willow, noticing the evident worry in the pull of taut lips, the wide eyes that were both vulnerable and guarded. But, Dawn remembered, Tara had made her promise not to say anything, She had been so upset when she thought Willow would know about the panic attack. Dawn knew Tara wouldn’t want to upset Willow. Upset them both since they couldn’t be there for each other. Couldn’t they?

She had been waiting, nerves tingling with worry, to hear if Tara was better. She hadn’t even thought of dealing with Willow, had just sat with a low simmering anger at the redhead. That maybe wasn’t even totally warranted. No, Dawn decided, Willow didn’t need to know. Deciding didn’t make her any less uncomfortable. Squirming uneasily, she turned her gaze back to the TV.

“Yeah- she’s fine. We had ice cream.”

Willow just stood, limbs made of stone and an expression that was heartbreakingly resigned. She knew she was being kept out, she was being punished continuously and she had learned from when Oz left, no one wanted to hear about her pain. Still, Willow needed to be at peace with something, someone. And she needed to know that Tara was ok.

Inhaling shakily, she asked in a low, weedy, voice, “Did you have fun? With Tara today?” Her gaze was pleading slightly with a hue both hopeful and lost.

Willow’s question was unexpected and the younger woman could not stop the tears that suddenly pooled. Dawn blinked her eyes rapidly to rid them of the evidence and she cleared her throat once. She couldn’t look at Willow, she was too transparent right now.

“Um, yeah,” Dawn finally offered with a single shoulder shrug, “it was fun.”

Silently, Willow absorbed the fact that Dawn was not going to engage. She turned and took the stairs to her bedroom, arms wrapped tightly around her slender torso.

The room felt empty, bereft. The weight of the day threatened to pull her under water. And there she would drown if she didn’t fight. She looked at the phone on her nightstand wondering if she should call Amy. But Amy wasn’t the company she wanted and the truth of that saturated the barren room. Unravelling, Willow pulled a red fabric coat on, placed her purse strap over her shoulder, and walked down the stairs and out the door. Neither she nor Dawn said a word as she left.

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


Last edited by shirrey on Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Wilderness (6/28/2020)
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 9:40 am 
Offline
3. Flaming O

Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:38 pm
Posts: 81
Oh dibs! I'm glad I made your Sunday with my feedback and I'm very glad you've decided to share your story with the Tara and Willow loving world. What a sad and lonely update focusing on Willow. Although I am totally Team Tara I can't help feel sorry for Willow. She did step up when Buffy was absent, she did what she had to do to keep everyone safe, she just got a little lost. You're welcome to steal my phrase!


Top
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 55 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2

All times are UTC - 8 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  

W/T Love 24/7 since July 2000
Powered by phpBB © 2000, 2002, 2005, 2007 phpBB Group