Author:  Meltha

Rating:  PG for one very low scale curse

Feedback:  Yes, thank you. Melpomenethalia@aol.com

Spoilers:  Through "Help" in season 7.

Distribution: Fanfiction.net and the Bunny Warren.  If you're interested, please let me know.

Summary:  Willow takes a moment to remember Tara on a very normal day.

Disclaimer: All characters are owned by Mutant Enemy (Joss Whedon), a wonderfully creative company whose characters I have borrowed for a completely profit-free flight of fancy.  Kindly do not sue me, please, as I am terrified of you.  Thank you.

Dedication:  For everyone who wishes the show would deal with Tara's death a little more directly.

No Special Reason

            Your birthday is over, and it's not an anniversary or a holiday or anything like that, but I woke up missing you today. 

            The others have been good about things, but they don't understand, not really.  Or maybe they don't want to.  There are times when I become aware of your absence so painfully it almost brings me to my knees.  But I can't talk about it with them.  It brings up memories of all the other things that happened then, when I lost myself.

            Giles and I spent most of our time discussing how I was progressing with controlling my magic.  It was important, and it still is, but there were times I wished he'd say your name or that I'd have the courage to.  But I didn't.  They're afraid if I grieve I'm going to go dark again.  Maybe they're right; the feeling is overpowering, and I don't like being out of control.  But sometimes it feels like if I don't acknowledge that you're gone, I'll be just as crazed.

            Dawn and Buffy lost their mother.  When it first happened, they grieved, but then Glory became the center of everything and the whole world turned on its ear and, next thing I knew, we had someone else to grieve.  Then she came back, sort of.  And we had to deal with grieving her being alive instead, so Joyce was pretty much forgotten, I guess, in all the commotion.  If I try to mention you, I feel guilty, like I'm not supposed to say anything because they have enough to deal with and they handled it without crying on my shoulder, so I should be able to, too.

            Except it doesn't work like that.

            This morning, my physics class was cancelled.  Dawn was at school, and Buffy was doing her new counseling gig.  It was the first time I've been here alone without having some major catastrophe to avert.  So I went up here to our room.  It's Buffy's now.  When I came back from England, she'd already moved in.  I think she was trying to save me from having to sleep in the same room where it happened, but I wish she'd asked me first.  It's like they're trying to pretend you were never here, and it hurts sometimes.  I know she means well, but I'm going to hurt one way or the other, and it's like they don't want to realize it.

             I'm looking out the backyard window.  The glass has been replaced, but I can't help having my eyes be drawn to the place where the bullet hole was.  It's November now, and the sky is that really strange shade of white; you know how it is, when there are clouds covering everything and the light filters through them, and everything feels sort of faded and tired?  Sweatshirt weather.  There's a wind coming in from the west, and it's just a little bitter for California.  And I'm missing you.

            There's a throw rug on the floor now, and I haven't looked at the stain underneath it, but I know it's there.  There are lots of stains under lots of rugs in this house, and each one of them is walked on every day, and we all pretend they aren't there, just under the surface, staring up at us underneath patterns of roses and paisley and colored whorls of cloth.  But, Tara, I'm really sick of pretending.

            I'm sick of waking up each morning and having all the covers to myself.  I'm sick of knowing which toothbrush is mine because no one else has a pink one.  I'm sick of the extra closet space that, no matter how much I spread out my hangers, I can't fill up.  I'm sick of not buying pancake syrup at least once a week.  I'm sick of saying I'm fine over and over again when I'm not, I'm really not, and I don't think I will be again.

            It's not that today is something special.  I think it's that today isn't anything special at all.  It's a normal day, and I miss normal you.  So, I'm going to go down to the kitchen now and make pancakes for myself and eat them off an actual plate instead of something made of paper, and I'm going to smell the maple syrup and the melted butter, and yes, I'm probably going to cry.

            But before I do that, I'm going to burn every last damn throw rug in this house.