Character/Pairing: Willow, Willow/Tara
Setting: In the interim between S5 and S6
Word count: 1,518 words
Summary: Wiccans took an oath long ago not to alter the fabric of life for selfish reasons. So how did Tara come to agree with resurrecting Buffy in S6?
"You want to what?" Tara's head lowers and her eyebrows raise.
That's the reaction Willow had been expecting. She already has her response planned. Focus on the most significant point: Buffy is an exception to everything. "Bring Buffy back. Tara, I can do it. We can do it. This...this isn't like bringing back somebody on a whim. Buffy's important. She's the Slayer. I mean, what, are the Powers gonna rely on Faith now? Buffy's needed."
Tara drops the towel that she'd been folding. "Willow, Buffy is no more - or less - than any other person. She's not an exception. You can't just play with the laws of nature like that!"
"But that's what witches do! Everything we do plays with the laws of nature!"
"Not life and - "
"Yes, even life and death." They are going off script. Willow has to think on her feet. "Magicwe used it to defeat Adam, and...and I used it to reverse Glory's loopy spell on you. How does that not play with life and death? But actually bringing someone back is going 'too far'? What about all the lives Buffy can save?"
"Will." Tara walks around the bed. Her sympathy face is on. Willow has the sick feeling that she's lost. "I know you miss Buffy. I...I can't even imagine what you're going through. But she's dead. Nothing can be done about it. Nothing should be done about it."
She's made a misstep, clearly. Because Tara should be agreeing with her and calling for a Scooby meeting, not hugging her in shared grief. This isn't about missing Buffy! Okay, so it is about missing Buffy...a little. But the reason this is right is something else entirely. Something that she just can't get Tara to see.
Willow withdraws from Tara's embrace, looking down at her stripey socks. "Yeah," she says. "I just miss her."
"It'll get easier," Tara says, but Willow is already walking away.
"Yeah." Willow picks up the Lethe's Bramble. She hates to do it, but a clean slate would be needed later. Now that she knows more about Tara's objections, she can formulate a new strategy to counter them from the get-go. "Just forget it." She presses the flower tight against her palm. "Forget."
"You want to what?" Tara's head lowers and her eyebrows raise.
Willow hoped bringing it up while they were picking their classes would have a distracting effect on Tara. As soon as Willow says it, though, Tara's full attention is on her. Still, not a problem. Willow can deal. She's done a lot of research and planning this time. Whole lot more. She can persuade the heck out of anybody.
"I know, I know. Life and death. Magic bad." Willow rolls her eyes. "But this is different, Tara. Because Buffy didn't die a natural death! She dove into a portal. Who knows where she is?"
Tara is still giving her that look like Willow's hair just turned black or something. Willow is confident in her unnatural death loophole, though. This will win her over.
"Will." Tara shakes her head. "She's here. Or...her body is. She died from the fall - "
"But she went through the portal first! That's what killed her!" Willow has to believe this. "And her soul...her soul's probably trapped in one of those demon dimensions being tortured for eternity." Buffy can't be in hell. She deserves better.
"It doesn't work like that. Buffy's death...it wasn't as natural as Mrs. Summers', but it wasn't an anomaly. She chose to die. She did. And whether it was the portal or the fall that killed her, that's just the natural order of things." Tara puts aside her course catalog to scoot closer to Willow on the bed. "And, sweetie, Buffy isn't in hell. The Powers...they'll take care of the Slayer. Just...trust me."
She doesn't want Tara moving closer, trying to comfort her. Willow stands up to walk away. "Trust you. Yeah, because you know everything, don't you?"
"I mean, I'm not an idiot, Tara. I know how this stuff works. You think I'm just some half-assed wannabe witch? And, yeah, so I don't know for sure where Buffy's soul is or if her death is more unnatural than natural. But it doesn't matter! Because if there's a chance - any chance - that I'm right then we should do it. We should bring Buffy back."
Tara is shaking her head. Still. She's shaking her head. "No, we shouldn't."
She can't do this without Tara backing her. The others...they won't get on board unless Tara and her present a united front.
"Is it cause you don't trust me?" Willow asks.
"Then what? You don't think I can do it? I mean, yeah, I have...on occasion...had problems with some spells. But this? I'm not some stage magician. You know this."
"Willow, this magic you want to do...it's dark. Darker than anything you've done before. It's just too dangerous - "
"So you're scared? Well, you have to get over it, Tara. Because life can be scary and you can't just keep trying to avoid it."
Tara stands up. She looks confused. "What are you talking about?"
Willow should just shut up, but she can't stop. This isn't working. She'll have to try again anyway. "I'm talking about you. You being scared of your family, your friends, your own power. You're so afraid, you just don't ever do anything, and so nothing gets changed. And now you're scared of me being able to do some big, bad, dangerous spell cause 'Oh no! Willow can do the Big Magicks!'"
"That's not what this is about at all." She's getting mad. She used to just back down, shake her head, retreat. Now she gets mad.
Willow holds a hand up. "You know, never mind. I don't need to hear a Good Witch lecture from you."
"Will - "
"Tara, I said forget it." Willow snatches the Lethe's Bramble. "Forget."
Willow feels all wobbly while walking back into the bedroom she shares with Tara. Patrol had not gone well. Xander got in over his head with a pair of vamps. There'd been yelling and punching and throwing and then lots of Xander blood which required extensive first aid.
Anya had wanted to take him to the ER, but Xander had refused. Willow had agreed with Anya for once. A huge gash decorated Xander's side along with a concussion from being knocked against a tombstone. But Xander was in between insurance coverage at the moment and said he couldn't afford the hospital bills. So, with a joke and a weak grin, Xander had tried to play it off as not a big deal.
But it is a big deal.
Tara comes in while Willow is stripping her shirt off. Still wet with sweat and blood.
"What's wrong, baby?" Tara asks.
Willow sighs. "We can't keep doing this."
Willow feels the ache in her own body as she turns to her lover. "This. The patrolling. The blood. This...this isn't our job."
Tara picks up Willow's discarded shirt, inspecting the blood stains. "But nobody else is here to do it. I mean...Buffy's - "
"Yeah," Willow says. "She's...maybe she shouldn't be."
That gets Tara's attention. Willow hadn't meant to bring it up. She doesn't have a new argument planned. These past couple months have just kept pounding at her from the inside, leaving her more and more empty and bereft, and she just can't figure a way out. Except this. This is the way out.
"Willow, what are you - "
"I know! I know, it's wrong and bad and hurts puppies...but I can't do this. This. Taking care of Dawn and patrolling and then going to school and you know bills are piling up and Mrs. Summers' life insurance is running out and what are we gonna do then and it's just too much, Tara! I can't...I can't take care of all this! I can't fix everything. I can't keep Xander from getting hurt, and I can't keep the vamps and demons from causing trouble here on the Hellmouth. We need Buffy. She...she took care of things."
Willow remembers how Buffy took care of things. Even from the very beginning. Took care of things so her friends didn't have to.
She is so lost in her own breakdown, Willow startles when Tara pulls her into an embrace. Slight rocking motion. Warm, comforting smell of Tara's shampoo. Willow tucks her head against Tara's shoulder, feeling the dam break and letting herself cry.
"Shhhh, baby. It's okay." Nonsense words that nonetheless serve their purpose. Tara is there for her.
"Tara, please," Willow asks. Her voice is distorted through her tears. "Please...can we bring Buffy back? This is killing me. I just can't...not anymore. Please?"
There is a long silence. Willow keeps her head down. She doesn't want to see Tara's reaction. Here, enfolded in Tara's arms, is safety.
It seems like an eternity before Tara speaks. "Okay, Will. Whatever you want. Just please stop crying."
Willow holds Tara tighter in relief.