Disclaimer: Do I really need to tell you that the characters I am writing about belong to Joss Whedon and Mutant Enemy, Inc.? I didn't think so!
Author's note: This is the second version of this story. The first was incomplete, and I pulled I believe before anyone read it(whew). I really have to learn to sit on a story for a day before posting it. Yeah… that'll happen.
This is a story about friendship between Buffy and Willow. It takes place during season seven, around Christmas. Probably obvious by the title. Though, as usual, there will be an undercurrent of deeper feelings, no overt romancing is going on. Of course, this story didn't happen, but I would have liked if it had. Hope you enjoy.
The Christmas Gift
Willow was having a bad Christmas.
It was the first Christmas since Tara's death. The first that Willow knew she would never spend another Christmas with Tara. And it hurt.
The others had gone to the Bronze for an impromptu Christmas party. She had begged off, saying she was feeling a bit under the weather. That she wanted to get the tree done in time for Christmas. But she really just didn't feel like partying; she wanted time alone.
She was finishing up the tree, but her heart wasn't in it. She was dreading tomorrow. Dreading being alone; facing all the happy smiley faces, trying to keep a smile in place so she wouldn't be barraged with the " Poor Willow" questions. Thank goddess it is only once a year.
She was hanging up an ornament, a special one. It had been her and Tara's favorite. A little angel, with a somber face and soulful eyes. They had fell in love with it when they saw it, and they had decorated their first tree together with it. Just as she was reaching out to place it, a sharp noise from outside startled her, and the ornament slipped from her hand.
" Oh, no, OH NO!" She cried, trying to catch it, but she missed. It fell on the floor, and shattered.
She sank to her knees and wailed " no…no … NO….no….no" and the floodgates opened. The tears she had tried to suppress for months just came pouring out. She took some of the shards in her hands, then let them drop. Her body shaking with sobs, she couldn't stop crying.
She finally rose to her feet. Eyes blurry from tears, she wandered to the couch, and plopped down on it. And cried some more. Finally, the tears lessened, but her body was tired. She needed to sleep.
" I gotta finish. I will just shut my eyes for a minute…" and then she drifted off
It seemed like only had just closed her eyes when she heard someone softly singing. She opened her eyes, and saw Tara by the tree, singing and fussing with the decorations.
Tara turned to Willow and smiled. " Hi, sweetie. Help me with the tree, will you?"
Willow just stared
"C'mon, baby. I need a hand here" Tara said, reaching her hand out for Willow.
" B-B-But you...you're…"
"Dead?" Tara Smiled, " I know that honey. Don't worry, it is just a dream."
Willow found herself rising, and reaching out for Tara's hand. It felt solid enough. She couldn't figure it out, and didn't want to.
"Tara? Baby, I messed up. I broke our ornament" Willow said in a wee voice." I broke it"
" Don't worry honey. It was just glass. You can't break what it meant. Nobody can" Tara squeezed her hand.
Tara turned fully towards Willow, and said " I brought you a gift honey"
" You did?"
Tara showed Willow her hand. Floating over it was a ball of luminescent energy. She reached out, and placed her hand on Willow's heart, feeding her the energy.
The energy coursed through Willow's body. Willow felt light, she felt joyous. She felt a sense of peace
"Wow" Willow was awed " What was that?"
"Healing energy, love. For your heart" Tara's expression turned serious
" It is time to move on, Willow" She said quietly
" But, I don't want to move on" Willow cried
" You have to, my love. You can't go on like this"
" I… I … I don't want to forget you"
Tara smiled, her expression serene " Oh, baby, you won't forget me. I will always be with you. Right there" She touched Willow's heart with her finger. " I will always have a place in your heart. But, it is time to come out of hiding, Willow. Time to look around and really see the friends who love you. See how they care for you."
"There is one, especially, who cares for you. She is terribly worried about you, Willow. And she needs you, Willow. She is terribly lonely right now, and afraid. She needs her friend. She is reaching out to you, honey. Please reach out to her. Can you do that for me?"
Willow didn't say anything, she just nodded. Tara came and stood next to her, putting her arm on Willow's shoulder.
" There, done, isn't it beautiful"
And Willow saw the lights, and the colors, and felt the joy. She turned to Tara and said" Yes, it is beautiful" But Tara was gone.
" Tara? Tara…?"
Willow opened her eyes, and saw the tree before her. It was all ablaze in color and light. She realized it had just been a dream. But oddly, she didn't feel sad. There was a small spark of joy living in her heart. Tara's spark. She had missed feeling that for so long.
And then she saw it… their ornament. It wasn't broken. It was hanging proud, just where she was going to put it. She looked to the place where it had been broken, but there was no glass.
" I must have dreamed that too" she said to herself. " I guess I am more tired than I thought. I am going to bed"
She climbed up the stairs, heading for her room.
If she had looked a little closer at that ornament, she would have noticed the angel was no longer somber. It was smiling.
She entered her room, and turned on the lamp by her bedside. She noticed that there was a package on her bed. It was wrapped in gold and silver, and had a large silver bow on it.
A small smile came to her face. " This is sweet. I wonder who it is from?" She looked at the card, but it only said ' For Willow. Open me'. There was nothing in the 'From' line.
She opened the box, and found two smaller wrapped gifts, and a note. She opened the first gift. It was a necklace. On a gold chain were two enameled angels. They were standing together, arms on each others shoulders, and holding a big choir book between them. They were singing joyously. One angel had blonde hair, the other had red hair.
She opened the second gift. I was a burnished gold frame. It contained a picture of her and Buffy from a Christmas a few years back. They had huge goofy grins on their faces, and were obviously mugging for the camera. Engraved on the frame was the legend: " Buffy and Will…Buds Forever". She felt her eyes tearing.
She picked up the note, and started reading:
Merry Christmas ! Sorry about the gifts. They are kinda dorky, but it was the best I could do this year.
I bought the necklace at that little gift shop by the Magic Box. As soon as I saw it, I thought of you and Tara. It just reminded me so much of how you two were… innocent angels singing the joy of life.
Will, I know how hard it is for you now. If I had it in my power, I would do anything I could to bring Tara back to you. I would change places with her, if I could, because then I know you would be happy. And I would be happy, too.
The picture is from a couple of Christmases ago, when we were all still together. I remember that Christmas very well. You and I had had way too many spiked eggnogs, and were really tipsy. I remember somehow we wound up in the backyard, laying on the grass, staring up at the stars. We were holding hands, and you were seriously trying to point out the constellations to me. I of course was seriously( and a bit drunkenly) trying to follow along. But what I didn't tell you then was that the most important thing to me was that we were there, together.
I guess what I am trying to say to you Will is that I miss you. I miss being with my Willow. I miss your emerald green eyes, how they sparkle when you are happy. I miss that cute splash of freckles across your nose, and the way your nose crinkles when you laugh. Oh, god, Will, how I miss hearing your laugh. I miss how you drape your arm over my shoulder, and give me a hug for no reason. I miss holding your hand . I miss our talks, and I miss hanging out with you for no other reason than to hang out with you.
We have drifted apart, Will. Even though we are living in the same house, sometimes I feel we are a million miles away from each other. I guess that is my fault. I haven't been as good a friend as I should be. I haven't been there all the times you needed me. But I want you to know, Will, that I am going to do better. I am going to do my best to get back to you.
I am terrible at this. I just want to say I miss you, Will. That I am going to do my best to prove how important your friendship is to me. Do you think we can do it? I hope so, Will. I really do.
Sorry again about the silly gifts. I promise I will make it up to you next year
Merry Christmas, Will, my bestest bud,
Willow felt the tears roll down her cheek. But she had a smile on her face, because they were happy tears. She hadn't realized how much she had missed Buffy. Being with her, and just enjoying her company.
" Oh, Buffy, you silly goose. These are the best gifts, ever" Willow hugged the picture to her chest. She looked at the little angels as they sang to her.
At that moment, a soft knock came at her door
" Willow…are you all right?" Buffy called out, sounding a little worried. She saw her friend was crying. She walked into the room, and stood close to Willow.
" Hey, Buffy. Yeah, I am fine. I love your gifts" Willow said." Happy tears"
Willow wiggled the necklace and asked" Could you?"
"Of course, Will" Buffy smiled.
Handing the necklace to Buffy, she put down the picture and held her hair up. Buffy came around and clasped the chain to Willow's neck. Will felt a few tingles when Buffy's fingers brushed against her neck.
Willow rubbed her fingers over the angels and said " I just love this" and she pulled Buffy into a one armed hug." Thank you so much"
" But, I think I love this, even more" She said, and put the picture of Buffy and her on her nightstand, next to Tara's
They sat silently for a bit, then Willow asked" How come you're not at the Bronze?"
Buffy replied " I dunno, Will. Just not up for it. Xander and Anya said they would keep an eye on the girls"
They sat for a few moments, then Buffy put her hand on Willow's shoulder " Well, Will , Merry Christmas. Seeya in the morning" She rose to leave.
" Hey, Buff… what are you going to do?" Willow asked
" I dunno… I guess I will turn in. Get ready for the 'big day' " Buffy replied. Willow heard the tone in her voice.
" Not so crazy about it either, huh?"
Buffy shrugged. She started walking towards the door
"…And she needs you, Willow. She is terribly lonely right now, and afraid. She needs her friend. She is reaching out to you, honey. Please reach out to her. Can you do that for me?"
" Hey, Buffy" Willow calls out
" Yeah, Will?"
" We have the house to ourselves. How about we make some popcorn, watch some old movies, like old times? Whatta ya say?"
Buffy's face brightens, and she smiles." Yeah, Will. I would like that. That would be great"
Willow smiles back at her. " Yeah, that would be great. I will meet you downstairs"
Willow reaches over to turn out the lamp, and looks at the picture Buffy gave her. She smiles
Maybe this won't be such a bad Christmas, after all.
He sprang to his sleigh, to
his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere
he drove out of sight,
"HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!"
Thanks for reading my little Christmas tale. Merry Christmas, all =)