Rating: PG-13 // 12
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Summary: Willow tries to cope with living without Tara. Sequel to After She Died.
Willow stirred as she felt the warm sun on her exposed skin. She opened her eyes and turned over to face the other side of the bed.
She stopped when she realised what she was doing. She was expecting to see Tara. But, of course, she didn't. She wasn't there.
The little redhead frowned and closed her eyes again, silently telling herself how stupid she was. This was happening every single morning. She was so used to waking up and seeing her lover.
It had been about a month now. A whole month living without her.
It had been so hard, especially to begin with. She still felt as if a huge part of her was missing, but it wasn't so bad now she had had some time.
The witch had had so much time, just spare time to sit alone and think. To think about her life with Tara, what happened just after she died, and what would happen in the future.
She remembered waking one morning, about two weeks ago, expecting to see the blond beauty lying next to her, and when she didn't it felt as if her world had been torn away...Again.
But then it came to her. She wasn't supposed to waste her life as she was, she was supposed to cherish it. In that moment she felt so sure and worry-free.
Life is special, you never know how little you have of it until the end comes.
Tara's end came all too early. Yet she suddenly realised that she had to move on, to live her life to the full.
Willow opened her eyes again and sat up.
The room was different, she had taken out some of the objects which carried too painful memories, but some things of Tara's were still there, to remind her.
Willow looked up from where she sat at the kitchen counter. Buffy was at the cooker making breakfast.
The little slayer had been making her pancakes almost every morning this week. She remembered when Tara asked did that.
"Funny shapes." She simply answered. Funny shapes or rounds, that was what Tara offered.
Buffy smiled, "Funny shapes it it." She was so glad that her best friend was over the drinking.
After breakfast, Buffy and Willow had planned to go shopping. Willow was pleased that the blond was being so understanding. It was what she so badly needed.
The two young woman set out on the way into town.
Buffy glanced at the redhead walking beside her and sighed within, she loved this girl so much, she wished that she could protect her, even from her own feelings.
Willow felt and petite hand slip into her own and squeezed it gently, thanking Buffy for her support.
She was one of the most important people to the redhead, along with the beautiful blond witch, of course.
"I know, Buffy." Willow replied in a voice just above a whisper.
"How about this?" Buffy suggested and picked up a fluffy sweater.
The redhead grinned, "Cute." It was black and had a little picture of a bumble bee on the front.
"Cute is just what you need, miss Rosenberg, and I'm gonna see that you get it." She stated, a smile seeling the promise.
For the first time since the terrible day that changed her life happened, Willow wasn't thinking of Tara. The slayer was filling her thoughts. The redhead felt so loved and cared for, something in the weeks after losing her love she had felt alienated to.
Without a word of warning, the witch threw her arms around Buffy's shoulders and hugged her tightly, tears welling up in her eyes.
After the blond's initial surprise, she held her friend close. When they pulled away, Buffy saw a thing that she hadn't in a long time. Willow was smiling, really smiling.
Willow turned over lazily in her bed, letting her arm fall over the side, her face barely resting on the mattress. Something caught her eye on the floor, almost all the way under the bed.
She realised what it was after taking a closer look. It was a whiskey bottle. A little of the liquid still remaining.
She closed her eyes tight and hoped the memories would go away. Bad memories. The ones she didn't ever want to remember.
All she wanted was to be happy and free of the torments that held her for weeks.
She opened her eyes, which were now filled with tears, and resumed looking at the bottle.
It must have been missed when Buffy had cleared her room of all the bad things.
Pity she couldn't clear away all the bad things in Willow's head.
The bottle seemed to be enticing her. Telling her to come closer, just the way the creepy killers did in the movies.
She knew she shouldn't even touch it, not even to move it out of her line of sight.
Yet she did.
But it wasn't to get it out of the room. She picked it up.
It was cold and hard against her skin. A chill ran through her body as she tightened her grip on it.
The redhead brought it up to eye level. Leaning on her elbows, she clasped her other hand around it as well.
As it tipped slightly, the liquid that inhabited the glass container sloshed to the other end.
Without quite knowing why, Willow swept one of her finger-tips up the length of the bottle, then took the lid into her hand and unscrewed it.
The smell that emitted from the opening filled her senses and she let her eyes slide close for a moment, then opening them again.
She started to pull the bottle to her lips, as if it was the most normal thing to do, but stopped herself short.
Her faced was masked with confusion and guilt. And disgust.
Disgust because of what she was about to do. She knew that she had a problem with alcohol recently. And only with the help of Buffy she had been able to get over it. Or so she thought.
She threw the whiskey bottle to the floor and it shattered on impact, spilling it's contents onto the carpet.
The slayer's head snapped up from her book as she heard a piercing scream tear through the air.
She rushed up the stares and crashed into Willow's bedroom. She saw the broken bottle on the floor and the little witch on her bed. Her head was buried in the pillows and her body was shaking.
Buffy touched her hand to the redhead's quaking shoulder and she tilted her head up to look at her best friend, her brow furrowed and her cheeks streaked with tears.
The blond looked down to the shattered glass again and back up to her friend, "Oh, Willow."
"B-Buffy," Her voice wavered, "I..."
"Sshh," The slayer soothed, smoothing Willow's hair as she sat down on the bed and pulled the witch into her arms.
"I almost - "
"Almost. You stopped yourself, Will. You didn't do it." She closed her eyes as she felt pangs of pain for the other young woman deep in her chest.
"But I...I wanted to..." Willow managed through her sobs.
Willow sat with a blank expression on her face. Her hair was wet from the shower, but she hadn't even felt the water trickle over her skin.
Buffy had helped to subside the tears that made their constant assault on Willow's cheeks. She had convinced her to take a shower, to wash it all away.
But it didn't help. The redhead still felt the inner pain and guilt for what she did.
She had no idea of what she was supposed to do, how she was to get through what was happening.
Her skin felt like it was crawling, her insides threatened to turn themselves inside-out, and her heart ached.
She couldn't bare it, though she kept so still, even a tiny movement would spin the tears into action again. She knew it, felt it.
All Willow wanted was Tara.
But that wasn't ever going to happen again. The redhead felt a wave of emotion tear through her body and she finally moved as the pain reached her heart and gripped it in its sharp embrace.
The sudden movement almost threw the little witch from the bed, but she held onto the edge tightly, closing her eyes tight.
Would this last forever? Is this what her life would always be like?
The answer came to Willow that night when she finally got to sleep.
She dreamed of her love, Tara. The gently moonlight graced her smiling face and her eyes flickered as images of the beautiful blond inhabited her brain.
But this wasn't like the other dreams she had had about the other Wiccan. No, this was defiantly different.
In the dream Tara presented herself as Buffy. The redhead though this was strange. But why would it be? The slayer was her best friend, of course she was going to relate her to her girlfriend.
They had kissed and time had stood still. The way their bodies melted together and their lips explored the others' excited her.
Was she moving on with her life or just realising something that was always there?
When Willow awoke a smile graced her beautiful face, "I love you." She said both to Tara and to Buffy.