For the Moment

One last look; that was all she was going to allow.

Tara stared through blurry eyes back at the house she was leaving behind. Just one look, she had been promising herself that for an hour now. There were obvious wet patches on her sleeves and the seats in the car from the moments when she couldn't contain herself. Because this was the most heartbreaking thing she had ever had to do, to walk away from someone she loved for their own good.

Because she truly did believe this time apart would do them good.

Blinking back the repeat of tears threatening to spill over and create another pool on her lap she brought the only source of comfort closer to her face. The blue one, the blue shirt that Joyce had liked so much. When she was packing she had found herself in Willow's drawers and this had just been there. Before she had known what was happening she had slipped it out and thrown it in with her own things.

It smelt like Willow, it felt like Willow. Willow had spent hours crying over this last year, it was a Willow reminder.

And finally she did what she had been meaning to do ever since she had taken the heartbreaking steps out of the front door—she turned the key and the small car roared the life. It moved slowly and she still clutched the soft blue fabric in her right hand, just to feel it, to feel her.

"Oh, honey!"

Apparently Tara looked just as bad as she felt. It was a little late in the semester to get on campus housing and her friend Kate from her Art class had offered to take her in—or she had pointed out that she had a place on the floor for her when Tara had called briefly saying she had nowhere to go.

"I'm so sorry, Tara" Kate ushered a trembling Tara through the door and settled her down on the bed immediately. "I wish I could do something."

"So do I, that's why I'm here." Tara sniffed. "I had to go…it'll…it'll help her." She had been repeating this to herself in the car. Of course she knew that Kate wouldn't understand what it meant, what Willow was into but she had to say it again, one more time if only to have someone else hear her say it.

"That's good" Kate sat on the bed opposite Tara, her roommates' bed, and smiled sympathetically. If only she could truly understand the intensity of it.

A shiver ran down Tara's spine—a shiver of terror? No, not the typical shivers that had been running down her spine since joining the Scoobies. No, Tara was simply cold. Kate hadn't managed to find enough sheets to keep out the crisp chill that was creeping over her now.

It was keeping her awake, or at least that was what she liked to believe was keeping her awake. Really it was the thoughts that continuously blundered in and out of her mind that was doing the damage. Tossing and turning and tossing some more Tara found herself staring at the dorm room ceiling listening to Kate's soft breathing and her roommate, Tessa's half snores.

Counting sheep wasn't for everyone, instead Tara's mind began recounting things, things that she missed…things about Willow.

The first thing that came to mind was simply time they spent together, alone. Willow would hold Tara, or she would hold Willow and with their arms and bodies entwined the world would be at peace. It was like that song 'Can You Feel the Love Tonight', it felt exactly like that.

She would miss the way Willow made her feel so special, like she was lit up in a dark room filled with people she loved. That made Tara feel special, and it was only Willow who could put her in that place.

Willow's smile, her smile—the most wonderful smile in the world. The way it reached the tips of her eyes and lit up everything, including the world. Willow had a big smile, one that overpowered everyone and everything and you couldn't help but smile back.

Oh, and the way she talked, the funny way Willow talked. It was adorable really. It was a mesh of words and babbling in a cute yet confusing way. It was something she appeared to have picked up from Buffy but twisted into her own style. It always made Tara giggle, and then Willow would giggle too and they would kiss…and maybe more…

But no, despite all the things she missed, she had to be here. Things were changing and it wasn't good. Maybe it Tara stayed put and wished really hard, Willow would find her way back…Willow would find her. Or would she find Willow? Maybe it was Willow's turn to be lost.

And everything dissolved, murky, nonsense-y pictures began to fill her brain and Tara was saved from thought…

For the moment.