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

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 Post subject: Twice Remembered
PostPosted: Fri Oct 09, 2020 3:36 pm 
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7. Teeny Tinkerbell Light
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Joined: Mon Aug 04, 2008 10:37 am
Posts: 601
Topics: 8
Location: Maryland
TITLE: Twice Remembered

STORY RATING: Mainly pg13-R. Maybe a little sprinkle of NC17 here and there.

SUMMARY: Willow makes a rash decision to bring Tara back.

FEEDBACK: Absolutely!

NOTE: My take on how Tara could have been brought back to make season 7 bearable.


Chapter 1:

Willow shuffled anxiously off the plane, her subconscious desire not to brush up against any of her fellow passengers making her extremely twitchy as she hugged her arms tight around her chest. As if the initial flight from Heathrow to Los Angeles International hadn’t been long enough, she had to wait an additional three hours before loading the tiny puddle-jumper plane that took her the last leg of the journey back to her hometown; Sunnydale. She now stood in the car rental line behind a bickering couple as she waited to sign out the gray Nissan Versa she had reserved. It would have taken less time to get a taxi back to the Summers household, but she had been to detached when making the arrangements to realize the inefficient flaw and avoid it. But now, she was thankful for the oversight.

Giles had repeatedly assured her over the course of the previous week that she could do it. That she had learned enough during her time in England, both personally and magically. That she could face her friends; her family. Not that they, her friends, would let her, necessarily, but that she should trust herself. And here she was, back in her hometown; Sunnydale. Almost. But the thousands of miles she had just flown seemed like nothing compared to the short distance that remained between her and home. Was it home? Was she allowed to call it that anymore after what she had done?

She felt so isolated and cold. She ached with a need to talk to someone. To confide. To be comforted. But the person she wanted to turn to most for those things was gone forever, and the others … Willow doubted whether she’d even be able to meet their eyes when she arrived, let alone have deep, soul-baring chats with them. Giles had been cautiously supportive, and they had conversed many times over tea during the long summer months of her … rehabilitation? Ostracism? Mourning? But he was still in England, and too busy with Council matters to give her moral support now. Not to mention that it was currently some ungodly hour of the morning there, and an uplifting pep-talk was not best served by those who were sleep deprived from being rudely awakened. Still, the tightness in her chest would not go away, and it was becoming unbearable. She needed to talk to someone before she could face her friends.

While churning through her gloomy thoughts, Willow had been staring vacantly ahead of her, unaware that the line had moved. It wasn’t until there was a gentle tap on her shoulder did she snap out of her thoughts. Looking over her shoulder, she came face to face with an elderly woman, her blue cotton candy hair in a state of disarray.

“It’s your turn, dearie,” the old woman crooned sweetly as she pointed toward the unoccupied clerk. Wrinkling her weathered skin together, the older woman peered up at Willow when she failed to move, noticing the young woman’s red, tear rimmed eyes. With the same gentle tone, now laced with a bit of concern, “Are you okay, sweetie?”

“No,” Willow whispered out before she could censer herself.

“Oh, sweetheart,” the elderly woman husked out in response; her lips instinctively puckering in melancholy. With motherly love, the elderly woman looked up at the redhead standing before her, taking in the woman’s bleak expression. Her hunter green eyes were soft, tenderized by pain and much remorse. Placing a reassuring hand on the quivering girls arm, “Why don’t we step out of line for a bit, huh? If you want, you can tell me what’s bothering you. Or we can just sit in silence. You’re choice.”

Nodding feebly, Willow allowed the elderly woman to steer her out of line and to a row of worn down armchairs up against the far wall.

“I’m Beatrice, sweetie,” the woman said softly as she motioned for Willow to take a seat, following suit shortly after. Pulling her purse to her lap, Beatrice dug through the contents until she located the un-open packet of tissues. Handing the travel size tissue container over to the redhead, she smiled approvingly when the girl accepted. “What’s you name dearie?”

“Willow,” she replied through sniffles as she dabbed at her nose.

“Well, Willow,” Beatrice started, “it’s a pleasure to meet you. Although, I do wish the circumstances were different for you, whatever they may be.”

Willow didn’t answer. Instead she sat with her head bowed, her hand clutching the crumpled up napkin to her nose.

“Now like I said, we don’t have to talk about it,” Beatrice stated soothingly, “but sometimes getting things off your chest can be cathartic … especially when speaking with a stranger who’s unbiased.”

“I’m scared …” Willow finally got out after a long moment of silence.

“Of what?” the older woman asked perplexed. “The rental car?”

“No,” she choked out. “Of going home.”

“Whatever for?”

“Because I have to face my friends … and she won’t be there,” Willow said as she looked up at the flickering florescent lights, desperately willing her tears to stay at bay.

Beatrice waited a few seconds before speaking; wanting to make sure that Willow had ample time to formulate her thoughts. When the redhead showed no signs of continuing, Beatrice took a deep breath before providing her impute. “I’m sure whatever it is that happened with your friends, you can work it out.”

Willow shook her head in response. “I said … I did awful things to them. Something horrible happened and I didn’t handle it well.”

Questioning hazel eyes skimmed over the redhead’s profile, unsure of what to make of the woman’s statement. Sympathetically she ventured, “bad breakup?”

Unconsciously, Willow scoffed. Biting on her bottom lip as tears welled up, “the love of my life died.” She sniffed back the snot running from her nose as hiccups ransacked her body. “She … she was killed right in front of me.”

Gasping in shock, the blue haired woman instinctively reached a hand out, gripping the redhead’s wrist. Unsure of what to say to help alleviate the redhead’s pain, Beatrice spoke the only question floating through her mind. “When did it happen?”

“Four months ago,” Willow croaked out; her breath hitching as she tried to rein in her hiccups. “After it happened, I was filled with so much rage and grief and …” she trailed off. “I never went to her funeral. I was scared that if I saw her in the cask- … if I went to the chu- …“ she gulped audibly as she struggled to get the words out. “I was a coward and I left; hopped on the first plane to England.”

“Being overcome with emotion and grieving the tragic loss of someone you love does not make you a coward,” Beatrice replied; her soft voice stern as she emphasized her words. “It makes you human."

“But I never said goodbye to her,” Willow cried freely. Desperate to stop the tide of tears, yet constantly feeling the smoldering soul fire of Tara Maclay, the ache that rose within her could not be extinguished, and Willow began to weep, her breath pouring forth in hitching sobs. Her throat constricted and her eyes throbbed as lines of tears furrowed down her face. Latent pain ebbed and flowed so fiercely through her body that Willow could do naught but cry. “I just left her there. Alone. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forgive myself for that.”

Pulling the quivering redhead toward her, Beatrice wrapped her arms around the young woman, embracing her in a protective hug. “You should go talk to her,” Beatrice said soothingly as she gently rocked the crying woman back and forth. Mumbling into Willow’s hair as she rubbed soothing circles on her back, “when my Bernie died, due to the carelessness of a drunk driver, I had so much resentment towards him and God and the doctors. I was angry that he left me. I was angry at the Doctors who couldn't save him. I was angry at the man who took him from me. I was just angry and took out my frustration on anyone near me. I sulked for weeks afterward, swallowing my misery with countless bottles of vodka, before I finally went to his grave site.”

“Did it help?”

“Surprisingly, yes,” she replied. “I told him everything I was feeling. How much his death hurt me. How much I loved him. How I would always love him. How I didn’t think I could carry on without him.”

“When did the pain go away,” Willow whimpered as she clung desperately to the elderly woman. “When did it stop hurting?”

As tears welled up in her own eyes, Beatrice blinked rapidly to clear them away. “It never does sweetie. I’ve missed Bernie every day for the last 18 years. You’ll always carry the pain, but eventually, it gets easier to manage.”

“What if I can never manage?” she said through sniffles, her mouth muffled by Beatrice’s thick, tear dampened, pink sweater. "What if I can't live without her?"

“You’ll find a way my dear. You’ll find a hobby, something to help pass the time, like travelling.” She patted the suitcase next to her right leg. “I take pictures wherever I go and when I return home, I go straight to Bernie to tell him all about them.”

Willow stayed silent as she soaked in Beatrice’s words. She didn’t know how this woman had managed to go 18 years without her husband. She hadn't even gone half a year and the pain inside of her was so numbing she was beginning to feel hallow. As a single thought swept through her mind, new tears trickled down her cheeks as Willow finally wept for herself. For the anniversary she would never celebrate, for the family she would never have, for the stark emptiness of a future devoid of love.

888

She had planned to drive back to the Summers residence. She had planned to confront her friends and her fears as she had discussed in length with the widow at the airport. She had planned to grovel and make things right again. She had planned so many things, over and over again in her head. But all those plans, those painstakingly long internal dialogues as to what she would say and do flew out the window when she veered right onto Maple Ct. in the direction of one of Sunnydale’s many cemeteries. The thought of stepping foot onto the hallowed land had plagued her for months. But at the sight of the vast landscape adorned with gray slabs and Beatrice’s words ringing in her ear, something called to her. Tara called to her.

Pulling her car to the shoulder, she peered up at the rough Iron Gate, the name Maple Field Cemetery glaring back at her. With nimble fingers, she reached for the silver handle, popping the door open. Heaving a heavy sigh, her chest tightening as tears threatened to escape her closed, swollen eyelids; Willow took one step out of the rental vehicle. Before she could talk herself out of entering the cemetery, she slammed the door closed behind her and shuffled forward. The painstaking task of moving one foot in front of the other was proving to her how weary she had become during her time in England. The restless nights consumed with nightmares followed by lingering days spent forcefully detoxing had left her body frail and on the verge of emaciation.

She didn’t know how she was able to navigate through the dense cemetery so quickly, finding her beloveds tombstone without having ever seen it before. She assumed it had to do with them being soulmates; their souls internally entwined together even in afterlife. As if compelled by an unseen force, Willow had dazedly walked towards Tara’s grave, never once stopping to check if she was in the correct location.

Kneeling before the stone slab, she hesitantly reached out her right hand. Her nimble fingers shaking uncontrollably as she traced the engraving. “Hey … it’s me,” she said tenderly as she placed a rock, the edges smoothed from years of erosion; on top of the headstone with her other hand.

“I’m sorry I couldn’t come sooner,” Willow dejectedly said as she continued to trace her beloved’s name. “I … I had to go. I did something horrible, Tara. When you di –“ she faltered over the words, her chest constricting as silent sobs threatened to take over her body. “W-w-when Warren took you from me … I let my rage consume me. All I could see was red. All I could taste was red."

Re-positioning herself so that her back now laid flush with the cold marble, she wrapped her arms around her knees in a faux bravado of warmth. Tears started to stream down Willow’s cheeks as she filled her beloved in on the warpath she embarked on upon her death. Of how rage bubbled through her body, burning like fire in her veins as she mercilessly took her anger out on their friends. And of how grief and despair eventually consumed her to the point where she almost ended the world.

“I’m not a perfect person, Tara” Willow admitted as she used the side of her palm to brush away tears leaking down her cheek. “There’s many things I wish I didn’t do.”

A new wave of tears threatened to spill from her eyes as she took in a raged breath. As sobs consumed her, her words became weaker and harder to get out. “I’m … I’m sorry that I hurt you.”

Lolling her head backwards so that it rested against the headstone; the rough textured edge pressing against the base of her skull. “It’s something I must live with every day.” Shaking her head from side to side, she recounted the last few months of their relationship. “I never meant to hurt you Tara.” She gulped down a strangled sob as she continued speaking. “But I did and I can’t take that back. I can’t make it up to you. I can’t forgive myself for being the reason you died.”

“Oh god Tara, how am I supposed to go on without you? We promised each other forever baby … and I’m struggling.” Slowly, Willow unwrapped her arms from around her quivering knees, and traced the outline of a small object in her front pocket that she picked up from a gas station near the airport. “I’m struggling to last that long because you’re not here and life just doesn’t seem worth living without you.”

Lowering her head, she rested her forehead, face down on her knees. She continued to cry silently, her body shaking uncontrollably as tears steadily cascaded onto her denim. “I’m so hollow baby,” she mumbled into the fabric, “I’m so hollow.”

The sound of her name came softly, almost as if the whispered word was being carried by the wind, gently caressing her soul. She rejoiced in the syllables as they assaulted her ears, the tone low and sensual. “Tara?” Willow husked out hopefully as her name was called out to her once more. Lifting her head, Willow gazed around the vacant graveyard in search of her lover, her eyes pleading for a sign of the brunette in the vast emptiness. “Tara?” Willow choked out once more as she gazed over the lifeless plain of still graves.

“Willow,” the voice came again but stronger this time, it’s silky tone familiar but painful all the same. Clenching her eyes shut, Willow internally berated herself for thinking Tara would come back to her; especially after all of the horrible things she had done. Looking over her shoulder, Willow took in the wrong brunette’s appearance, a small grimace flickering across her features.

Standing behind her in a red sundress, Anya stood uncomfortably, her arms hanging limp at her side while her head tilted sideways; watching Willow in apprehension.

“What are you doing here Anya?” Willow asked snidely as she once again rubbed her hands against her bloodshot eyes, smearing tears and mascara across her temples.

“You called me,” Anya said bluntly as she took a hesitant step closer. After her encounter with Willow at the Magic Box a few months back, the brunette wanted to be cautious around the redhead.

“You,” scuffed the redhead in disdain. “Why would I call you?”

“You’re pain. You’re anguish,” reiterated the bottled brunette. “It called to me.” Stepping around the headstone, Anya positioned herself in front of Willow, a crestfallen look adorning her features. After several long moments of silence, Anya tucked her dress to her thighs as she slowly slinked to the grass.

Scooting over, so that her back rested against the cold stone, Anya sat shoulder to shoulder with the grieving hacker. Slowly, she lifted her hand, awkwardly patting Willow’s shoulder in an attempt to show comfort. After several years as a human, Anya was still learning about basic human interaction; comforting others was still incomprehensive. Not wanting to give in to the reassurance she was sure she didn’t deserve, Willow stiffened her body before shrugging off the other woman's hand.

“I don’t deserve you sympathy.” Willow stated flatly as she stared off at the tombstone next to her, unable to bring herself to look at her best friends ex. “I don’t deserve anyone’s sympathy … I’m a murderer.”

“True, you are a killer,” Anya replied honestly. “But I understand your feelings. They're mortal and stupid, but I know what you’re going through.”

"How could you?” Looking at the brunette disbelievingly, Willow snarled at the woman, “Tara was the love of my life. You don’t know anything!”

“She may have been the love of your life,” claimed Anya as she tilted her head to look at Willow, “But she was my best friend … my only friend.” A tear rolled down Anya’s cheek before she had a chance to brush it away. “And it's stupid that she's gone and I miss her terribly.”

“Ahn,” Willow said softly as she looked at the other woman who had befriended her girlfriend in the early stage of their relationship. When no words were forthcoming, Willow settled for placing her hand on the other woman’s leg reassuringly, squeezing her knee lightly. The two sat like that in silence, each drifting off into their own daydream as they thought of better times.

Eventually, the silence was broken by Anya as she shuffled her position. “Do you plan on using that?” she questioned as she nodded to an object sprawled out on the grass beside Willow’s left thigh.

Opening her eyes slowly, Willow first looked at Anya before turning her head to look at what the shopkeep was referring to. A small twitch emerged at the corner of Willow’s lip as she stared down at the navy blue pocket knife; the blade flipped open. Reaching out tentatively, Willow traced one finger over the sharp blade, realizing she had pulled the weapon out of her pocket sometime during her conversation with Anya.

“I was,” she replied honestly as she continued to touch the blade. Tilting her head back to look at Anya, “I miss her, Anya. I just want to be with her.”

“And you think killing yourself will accomplish that?” Anya said frankly.

“It’s worth a shot,” came the dejected voice as she picked up the knife. She twirled the pocket knife around in her hand as she absently looked down at the weapon, her eyes glazed over as she vacantly stared, contemplating her next move.

“What about Tara?” Quipped the blonde, “Do you really think she would want you to end your life at her expense?”

The knife was on its fifth rotation when Willow spoke again, her voice low, almost undetectable. “No …”

“Willow?” Anya called out trying to get the redheads full attention. When Willow finally lifted her head, locking eyes with the vengeance demon, “It’s not your fault she died.”

“So I’ve been told,” Willow said dismally. “But if I had just listened to her. If I wasn’t so stubborn and had quite the magic when she asked, there wouldn’t have been a reason for us to be having make up se… we wouldn’t have spent the whole morning in bed.”

“You don’t know that,” Anya replied as she looked pointedly at the redhead. “You two were like cats in heat … and I’m not just talking about the sounds. You were always pawing at each other and making lame excuses to be alone.”

The tiniest of smiles graced the redhead’s chapped lips as she took in Anya’s lewd statement. The smile quickly faded as dark thoughts crept back through her mind. “I still can’t help but to think what would have happened if we never broke up … or if he had been stopped sooner. If Buffy had …” Teary eyed, Willow locked gazes with the brunette once more. “I will always pay for what I did, a day won’t go by that I won’t think of the way I brutally murdered him. But sometimes I just ... I wish he died sooner, that he died way before he ever had a chance of shooting Buffy … of killing Tara.”

Anya’s face instantly sank as she stared at the redhead, the young woman’s words penetrating deep inside of her. “You don’t really wish that do you?”

Tears started to flow freely down Willow’s face as she grimaced, her thoughts darkened by that one thought that has been plaguing her for months. Swallowing forcefully, she looked at the vengeance demon and shook her head yes, confirming the other woman’s fears. “I do. I wish he died a long time ago.”

“Dammit Willow,” Anya replied tersely as she let out a long sigh. Squeezing her eyelids together tightly, Anya grimaced as she internally debated with herself. “I can give you what you want,” she finally admitted “but things will be different … there’s ramifications for wishes like this.”

“What are you talking about?” Willow asked perplexed.

“You wishing Warren died before any of this...” she waved her arms around out to the side, flailing her wrists “...happened. I can make that happen.”

“What?” Willow asked, her voice raising an octave as she shifted her position slightly to get a better view of the faux haired brunette. Looking hopefully at her best friend’s ex-girlfriend she stopped spinning the knife in her hand, “Will she be alive?”

“Yes,” Anya replied softly. “But you and her are ... you’re not together… she’s still not your girlfriend.”

“That’s fine!” Willow said enthusiastically, the knife falling to the ground as she twisted her body to look at Anya fully. “We worked it out once we can do it again.”

Anya gave her a demure look before speaking again. “You really need to think about this Willow,” Anya said in a soft yet firm tone. “You’re altering time lines.”

Hesitatingly, Willow scrunched her eyebrows together as she took in her estrange friends words, “Wait, I’m not gonna be a vampire am I?”

“No” Anya reassured. “You will be among those living.”

A small smile graced Willow’s lips as she pushed herself to her knees, her jeans smudged with dirt as she rotated her position to look at Tara’s grave once more. Leaning down, she placed her lips over the engraving, kissing her beloved one last time. “You hear that baby, I’m coming for you.” Straightening out her posture, Willow rested on the heels of her boots as she took a large inhalation of breath.

Breathing out slowly, she turned to Anya and croaked out. “I wish Warren Meares died before he ever had a chance to kill Tara.”

Anya let out another long sigh as she shifted into her demonic form. Turning her head to look at Willow, her face devoid of skin; showing off hollow muscles, red ligaments and blue veins, she replied in a menacing tone, “Wish granted.”

_________________
Alyson, oh, Alyson why don´t you join my band? So you could play the flute like this one time in band camp.
I Am Forever / A Special Christmas of Sorts / Maybe It's Just Me / Honeysuckle Rose /Blackouts and Breakthroughs / When Love Arrives


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 Post subject: Re: Twice Remembered
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2020 4:00 pm 
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4. Extra Flamey
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Joined: Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:37 am
Posts: 190
Topics: 7
Location: Pacific Northwest
I am very intrigued!!

Quote:
Desperate to stop the tide of tears, yet constantly feeling the smoldering soul fire of Tara Maclay, the ache that rose within her could not be extinguished,


I love this line

Quote:
“Because I have to face my friends … and she won’t be there,” Willow said as she looked up at the flickering florescent lights, desperately willing her tears to stay at bay.


Quote:
Lowering her head, she rested her forehead, face down on her knees. She continued to cry silently, her body shaking uncontrollably as tears steadily cascaded onto her denim. “I’m so hollow baby,” she mumbled into the fabric, “I’m so hollow.”


:(( :(( :((

So thankful for Beatrice, sometimes grace comes from the kindness of strangers.

I am very interested to see where all this goes, Anya seems to able to see the world Willow is asking for and it doesn't sound like it will be full of hugs and puppies, although for Willow, I can see how any other world will be appealing. There are a lot of implications, namely the Buffy bot, that will come of Warren not being around- depending on when he dies

It was nice to see some commiseration between Anya and Willow, they both love Tara in their own way

I am so impressed by how prolific you are!! And I am really excited about this story!!

_________________
You ARE Magic ~ Tara


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 Post subject: Re: Twice Remembered
PostPosted: Mon Oct 19, 2020 4:37 am 
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6. Sassy Eggs

Joined: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:01 am
Posts: 406
I'm thrilled about your new story! :applause :banana :bounce
Very promising start.

So kindhearted of Beatrice to reach out to and comfort a total stranger - not many people would have done the same.
It's sad though that the emotional breakdown Willow suffered and the comfort Beatrice gave her didn't really help Willow but instead lead her to consider suicide.

Quote:
Scooting over, so that her back rested against the cold stone, Anya sat shoulder to shoulder with the grieving hacker. Slowly, she lifted her hand, awkwardly patting Willow’s shoulder in an attempt to show comfort. After several years as a human, Anya was still learning about basic human interaction; comforting others was still incomprehensive. Not wanting to give in to the reassurance she was sure she didn’t deserve, Willow stiffened her body before shrugging off the other woman's hand.

“I don’t deserve you sympathy.” Willow stated flatly as she stared off at the tombstone next to her, unable to bring herself to look at her best friends ex. “I don’t deserve anyone’s sympathy … I’m a murderer.”

“True, you are a killer,” Anya replied honestly. “But I understand your feelings. They're mortal and stupid, but I know what you’re going through.”

"How could you?” Looking at the brunette disbelievingly, Willow snarled at the woman, “Tara was the love of my life. You don’t know anything!”

“She may have been the love of your life,” claimed Anya as she tilted her head to look at Willow, “But she was my best friend … my only friend.” A tear rolled down Anya’s cheek before she had a chance to brush it away. “And it's stupid that she's gone and I miss her terribly.”

“Ahn,” Willow said softly as she looked at the other woman who had befriended her girlfriend in the early stage of their relationship. When no words were forthcoming, Willow settled for placing her hand on the other woman’s leg reassuringly, squeezing her knee lightly. The two sat like that in silence, each drifting off into their own daydream as they thought of better times.

I like how those two try to comfort each other, even if the attempts are a bit awkward. Their "relationship" was always difficult, but I would have liked it if they had had the chance to become something like friends. Maybe you'll give them the chance in the altered timeline?

Like Willow right now I fail to imagine catastrophic changes to the timeline Warren's earlier demise could have caused, even considering they might not have had the Buffybot at the end of season 5 and beginning of season 6. From what little Anya told Willow (that she and Tara are both alive, but still not together) I assume that they were stll able to stop the apocalypse caused by Glory and that they still resurrected Buffy which lead to Willow's magical addiction and their breakup. But I'm wondering how Warren's earlier death will have stopped them from making up already like they did in canon...
I'm really looking forward to the next chapter.


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